New disinfecting drone to rid large indoor spaces of COVID-19

Someday, the COVID-19 lockdowns will end, and we will return to offices, malls, and entertainment venues. However, we’ll want to make sure they are free — and remain free — of the virus. Now a new disinfecting drone aims to do that for large indoor spaces.

Louisiana-based Omni Environmental Solutions has announced a new drone disinfection system that sprays a fine mist of chemicals over wide areas. The company says it is experimenting with various EPA-approved liquid disinfectants. “The availability of agents changes daily, and we stay apprised to the differences and how it affects dispersion,” a spokesperson told DroneDJ.

The OMI Drone Disinfection System utilizes an 8-rotor drone that can carry 10 liters of disinfectant. With that, the company aims to cover large venues, including covered stadiums, sports arenas, convention centers, warehouses, and movie theaters.

Regardless of what chemical it uses in the disinfecting, Omni says it will choose a substance that kills the coronavirus and 99.9% of bacteria within 60 seconds. That’s much quicker than another disinfectant drone by Digital Aerolus that uses high-energy ultraviolet light. The latter must shine light on a surface for five minutes to achieve disinfection, eating into battery life. (It’s expected to ship to customers in May.)

Omni says it is in advanced stages of testing the drone and plans to start serving clients around April 15. However, it’s still working out pricing for the service, which includes providing FAA Part 107 certified flight crews. “We currently have numerous clients that we are providing COVID-19 disinfection services for and have received many inquiries for utilizing the drone disinfection system,” the company said.



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Sean Captain is a Bay Area technology, science, and policy journalist. Follow him on Twitter @SeanCaptain.