Can drones help Westport flatten the coronavirus curve? Westport Police want to find out.
Chief Foti Koskinas and Captain Ryan Paulsson, head of the department’s drone program, are testing new technology, through a partnership with drone company Draganfly.
It could be used in areas where large, unsafe gatherings might occur, such as Compo Beach and Longshore. If crowds are gathered, it could make an announcement asking people to practice physical distancing, or leave.
It does not use facial recognition technology, and would not be used over private property.
Draganfly says that its software can also scan body temperature, heart and respiration rates, coughs and blood pressure. The Canadian company says the drone can detect infectious conditions from 190 feet.
Koskinas notes that such data — if it is reliable — would probably be used by health officials, not the police.
The department has been using drones for several years already. Purposes include missing persons, motor vehicle accidents, and assisting the Fire Department.