Coronavirus disinfection comes through the air

UVigo researchers use aerospace technology to use drones to fight SARS-CoV-2 in public areas

The fight against the coronavirus can also get blown up and using aerospace technology. And made from Galicia. Because researchers from the University of Vigo are developing a disinfection project using liquid dispersion through unmanned aerial systems. Taking advantage of the “maturity” that drone cleaning technology already has, his work will focus on the development of a geographic information system at the Galician level and a methodology that allows optimizing its use in this health crisis.

The initiative is financed with 55,000 euros by the Galician Innovation Agency (GAIN) of the Xunta de Galicia. It is one of the eight solutions chosen, among the 160 received, in the call made by the Consellería of Economy, Employment and Industry for the development of innovative projects against Covid-19.


Higinio González, full professor at the School of Aeronautical and Space Engineering on the Ourense campus, is the main researcher, with the team completed by professors Fermín Navarro, from the same center, and Joaquín Martínez, from the School of Mining Engineering; and the research staff Luis Miguel González; Noelia Fariñas; Lorena Docasar and Alejandro Gómez. From June to December 2020, they want to “develop and validate flight operations with unmanned aerial systems to carry out disinfection tasks”.

O profesor da UVigo Higinio González.

The project has three objectives. The first of these is the development of a geographic information system at the Galician level that determines areas where a high influx of people is expected and are susceptible to drone disinfection. The second is to determine the necessary hours of operation and legal restrictions for this disinfection, as well as the necessary resources at the economic level, of equipment and operating companies. The third is the development and verification of specific disinfection methodologies for these systems to guarantee their correct results.

Although it may surprise the use of drones to disinfect areas such as parks, stadiums or recreational areas, the reality is that the technology is already very advanced. The Covid-19, explain those responsible for the project, has caused a global pandemic still in the containment phase and in the return to normality that began, they indicate, “a key aspect will be to continue to disinfect surfaces that can act as flattering for the transmission of the virus ”.

O profesor Fermín Navarro.

As the existing restrictions are lifted, they detail, “disinfection tasks will have to be extended more intensively to places that are not currently being used but will be used again in the future, for example schools and universities, sports facilities or outdoor entertainment venues ”.

In this context, says Higinio González, the COVID-19 crisis “did not remain oblivious to the use of unmanned aerial systems in disinfection tasks,” citing examples of use in countries such as China and France. “Given the scenario of cautious return to normality towards which we are heading in the coming months, it can be seen how unmanned aerial systems can be useful to complete disinfection tasks in places such as sports, schoolyards  playgrounds, leisure areas such as gardens, swimming pools, rivers and beaches ”, indicates the researcher.


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