Drones, Mexico’s new air force fighting COVID-19 from the sky

07/04/2020
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13:06
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Perla Miranda
Drones, Mexico’s new air force fighting COVID-19 from the sky
The project already has over 300 drones - Photo: German Espinosa/EL UNIVERSAL

Drones, Mexico’s new air force fighting COVID-19 from the sky

07/04/2020
13:06
Perla Miranda
Mexico City
-A +A
Drones Mexico wants to create a network of drones around the country to help during the coronavirus pandemic

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“It’s a bird, it’s a plane… It’s a drone,” could be the slogan for the initiative “Drones for Mexico vs COVID-19,” which seeks to use drones technology for sanitizing tasks, monitoring physical distancing is implemented, and even transport medicines or food in an efficient, fast, and infection-risk-free way.

The project wants to create a network of people who have and operate drones and distribute themselves in different areas of the country so as to be an alternative for support during the epidemic that, as of April 6, has taken the life of 125 Mexicans.

“Now that we are on a stage of less mobilization of society, which is vital to avoid the spread of the virus, we think that it is a good opportunity to use drone technology because they can be monitored remotely, so we could be able to perform tasks of disinfection, surveillance, and deliver medicines or food without the need of having contact with people,” said Luis Alfonso Escobedo.

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In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, the businessman said that the initiative was created last March 23 and that in the last 10 days, over 200 people from 18 states in Mexico have joined it by making their devices available for “Drones Mexico.”

“We have over 300 devices and an average of 30 sprinkling drones with which we can sanitize and others that will be used to monitor the body temperature of people or the progress of isolated patients; there is also the possibility of using them to send packages without the risk of leaving home.”

Luis Alfonso Escobedo said that the initiative was created after seeing that drones were being used in other countries to fight this pandemic, “so we generated three lines of action; one of the most important if that of social patrolling with which we intend to use speakers in different drones and warn about COVID-19, in addition to persuading Mexicans to stay home; we are translating these messages to different indigenous languages.”

He stressed that his interest in giving support during the contingency is also due to possible price hikes that could be generated the use of technology in favor of Mexicans to face the pandemic.

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“We know that with this initiative we are in contact with several dark interests because the industry was already set to sell drones to municipalities at excess prices, or the expensive sanitizing services. What we are doing is that all those agricultural companies that focused on the sprinkling of agrochemical products and that would normally earn between MXN $10,000 to $20,000 per drone, now are sacrificing their profit by standardizing the price to MXN $10,000 per unit to sanitize; that is our way of contributing.”

Until now, Drones Mexico vs COVID-19 has been in touch with state and municipal governments waiting to be accepted and to contribute more in the benefit of Mexicans once the labors they perform are more known by the society.

“We already have a letter of support from Oaxaca’s Wellness Ministry; the Chilpancingo municipality asked for a public space to be sanitized; here in Mexico City, we have contacted the IMSS, the Health Ministry. We are ready and getting organized to move forward and be a support for the government and society in general.”

Regarding the licenses to fly drones, he explained that they are looking for help from the Federal Association of Civil Aviation for them to grant them 180-days permits to fulfill their objectives. “Within the Mexican law, it is possible because we are in a state of emergency; we only need that a small push; we’re more than willing to coordinate.”

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By asserting that the whole world is facing a war against the new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, Luis Escobedo is convinced that only unión and teamwork between the government and society will allow Mexicans to win the battle.

“We have to be together; we’re in a war and after this, there will be a lot of opportunities, but now, we need to focus on saving Mexico, helping authorities and vulnerable communities so that then, all together, we can start up the country.”

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