Singapore implements the use of drones to enforce social distancing measures
TEL AVIV/SINGAPORE, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Beware, Singaporeans standing too close, automated drones might be keeping an eye on you from above.
Singapore’s police have been trialling two pilotless drones developed by Israel’s Airobotics to help enforce social distancing measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.
The small machines weigh 10 kg (22 pounds) and are programmed to track anomalies such as gatherings and stream footage to the police.
The three-and-a-half-month trial, over an industrial estate in the west of the city, is the first time automated commercial drones have been approved to fly over a major metropolis, according to Airobotics.
“Specifically for COVID, what we are doing is helping them maintain normal operations,” CEO Ran Krauss told Reuters. “The pandemic created a situation where it might be difficult for police to maintain operations.”
Singapore government’s Home Team Science & Technology Agency (HTX) said it had trialled the drones with police.
They can pinpoint locations and zoom into areas that might not be visible to police officers on foot or in vehicles, Senior Engineer Low Hsien Meng from HTX’s Robotics, Automation & Unmanned Systems Centre, said.
Airobotics, which has raised $120 million in funding, said it had invested some $100 million to develop the drones. It was leasing them to HTX and also for business and industrial use in Israel and the United States, it said.