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Sanitization drones clear way for cheering Kentucky Derby crowds

Before the 51,800-plus crowd excitedly filed into Churchill Downs Saturday to watch Medina Spirit win the 147th Kentucky Derby, a race of another sort took place: the tag-team effort of drones to completely cleanse the venue from COVID-19 viral threats before the running began.

UAS let the games begin

The company hired to pull that off was Pittsburgh-based tech firm Aeras, after it earned the Federal Aviation Administration’s (EPA) 137 certification drone use to sanitize big sports and entertainment sites. It’s one of several businesses relying on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to help major professional sports franchises welcome back fans clamoring for live games more than a year after COVID-19 made nearly everything fun off limits.

The Atlanta Falcons led the charge last October by contracting Lucid Drone Technologies to spray FDA-approved disinfectant over its home field Mercedes Benz Stadium. As DroneDJ predicted at that time, other franchises followed. The Carolina Panthers and Washington Football Team have also turned to UAS sanitization solutions, and so have organizers of other sports events like the Kentucky Derby.

Jim Christiana, Aeras vice president of marketing and corporate communications, says the company has also won drone sanitization work of Pittsburgh Penguins home, PPG Paints Arena.

If sports franchises want to increase the number of people in seats, Aeras is the path. We’re excited for the opportunity to work with any sports and entertainment facility that wants to provide that peace of mind to fans returning to live entertainment.

Droning with COVID-19

Despite the advancing rate of vaccinations, most countries are now preparing methods of “living with COVID-19” as a vastly reduced, rather than entirely eliminated threat from daily life. Certain precautionary measures, therefore, will continue indefinitely. For that reason, steps like large-scale sanitation will likely remain vital to resumption of quasi-normal activities such as attending sports events, concerts, and plays.

The EPA recognizes electrostatic spray systems used by drones as the fastest and most efficient manner of misting viral threats away from large venues. Companies active in that deploy UAS to atomize a full covering of sanitization liquid over all surfaces to kill COVID-19 and other viral pathogens.

The 2020-founded Aeras says its drones completed that task in Louisville ahead of Saturday’s Derby in just three hours. Were it to repurpose its technique in COVID-19’s wake to faster, cheaper house painting, a planet of homeowners would owe the company an additional layer of gratitude.

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