Sports arenas

A disinfection drone waters sports stadiums

Virtually all public sporting events are closed due to the coronavirus. But when the sites consider reopening, a New York-based drone company offers a solution to keep them germ-free by spraying disinfectant from above.

Until recently, Syracuse startup EagleHawk specialized in drone roof inspections using thermal cameras. But as that work slowed down due to blockages, he began to explore the disinfection business, reports The company upgraded its inspection drones, replacing cameras with sprayers to quickly apply disinfectant over large areas. A long pipe connects the drone to the disinfectant tanks stored on the ground. To prevent the hose from snagging on stadium seats or other objects, a second drone holds the slack in the hose.

EagleHawk considers this setup to be a faster method than sending workers to the seats to hand sanitize them all. It also eliminates the risk of exposure for workers. The company tested the system at three indoor sports venues, including KeyBank Center in Buffalo, home of the NHL Buffalo Sabers. EagleHawk says the system can also disinfect outdoor stadiums.

“We’re getting a lot of interest now, but I think everyone is in a waiting game, unfortunately,” said company CEO Patrick Walsh.

EagleHawk is not the first company to offer a sanitizing drone for sports arenas. A company called Omni Environmental Solutions, for example, has developed a similar drone for sports venues and other large indoor spaces, such as convention centers. This one carries its own disinfectant reservoir, making it potentially more agile than the captive version of EagleHawk. Agricultural drones have also been reused in countries like Spain and India to spray disinfectant in outdoor areas.

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