UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

UND-sponsored project will show how drones may be used to help fight COVID-19

Partnership involving UND, government agencies and the private sector will conduct tests in the Grand Forks area

Expanding out of the Center for Innovation at UND, SkySkopes, Inc., has situated itself as an important player in a number of regional industries the last few years.  Now it’s partnering with UND researchers to combat COVID-19 with drone technology.  Image courtesy of SkySkopes, Inc.

The University of North Dakota is funding a demonstration project on Thursday, April 16, and next week on how drones can be used to help mitigate viruses such as COVID-19. You may see and/or hear unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) around the City of Grand Forks, but they will not fly over populated areas.

Matt Dunlevy
Matt Dunlevy

The simulation is being conducted to test how drones could be used to disinfect public areas, recognize temperature gradients to identify hazards and transport priority medical or personal supplies to a fixed location.

This is a collaboration between the Center for Innovation, the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems, the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, SkySkopes, the Grand Forks County, Grand Forks County Emergency Management, North Dakota State University; and the group is in communications with the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services and the Governor’s Office regarding the project.

The operations will incorporate personal protective equipment (PPE), physical and social distancing practices, best safety practices, and highlight the opportunities for establishing procedures that will help to mitigate and prevent virus spread as a community-level response.