They started using drones equipped with loud speakers to warn people in China who violated quarantine orders back in late January, the early reported days of the coronavirus outbreak. France and Spain f0llowed suit in March.
Last Friday, the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where there are more than 1,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, announced plans to deploy drones, that are on loan and donated to the city by DJI, to enforce social-distancing rules.
“The most important thing you can do to fight this virus is stay at home,” Mayor Chris Bollwage said last Friday. “Some may notice drones monitoring your neighborhoods. These drones are going to alert people to move away from each other if they are congregating. This is not a joke. It is extremely serious.”
Tuesday, the local police department gave residents a look at the drones that will broadcast the mayor’s voice. (Video below)
“These drones will be around the City with an automated message from the Mayor telling you to STOP gathering, disperse and go home,” the police department wrote on Facebook. “Summonses HAVE AND WILL CONTINUE to be issued to those found in violation. Fines are up to $1000. You have been advised.”
There was a backlash on social media from people upset at the decision to use drones to help enforce the lockdown, Elizabeth police said it was only trying to save lives, adding that no recordings were being made, or pictures snapped.
DJI Technology’s Public Safety Disaster Relief Program sent Elizabeth police five Mavic 2 Enterprise drones, which come with a speaker, a spotlight and a flashing beacon as interchangeable attachments. Two of the drones were donated and the other three are on loan for an initial 90 days, a DJI spokesman told NJ Advance Media.
“DJI’s Disaster Relief Program has provided 100 drones to 43 organizations in 22 states,” a DJI spokesman said. “We’re excited to see our technology used to protect the public as well as protect public safety workers, and we’re glad to see that police departments, fire departments and other public safety workers are putting them to use immediately.”Tags: coronavirus Drone News Drones new jersey