Connecticut town using drones for coronavirus response

A Fairfield County town is using drones to be able to see if people in public have high temperatures or not following social distancing rules due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The drones have sensors that can also monitor heart and breathing rates.  They can also detect sneezing and coughing from up to 190 feet.

The Westport Police Department is testing new technology in a partnership with drone company Draganfly.  They say the "Flatten the Curve" program is to combat the spread of coronavirus.

According to Police Chief Koskinas, "Using drones remains a go-to technology for reaching remote areas with little to no manpower required. Because of this technology, our officers will have the information and quality data they need to make the best decision in any given situation."

The drone software uses biometric readings in able to monitor crowds at beaches, train stations, parks, recreation areas, and shopping centers.

The company says the drones will not be used over private yards and does not use facial recognition technology.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says, "This pandemic has opened up a new frontier and urgent need for the use of drones."


The ACLU of Connecticut is cautioning about the program.

David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut said in a statement, "We are naturally skeptical of towns announcing these kinds of partnerships without information about who is operating the drones, what data they will collect, or how or if that data will be stored, shared, or sold."

The ACLU says new tools should not automatically be rejected but technology is "no magic pill" to fight the pandemic.

It warns that remote fever detection via drone may or may not be accurate when reading a person’s temperature and may not be helpful in stopping the spread of COVID-19.


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