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Drones solution service provider DroneUp has collaborated with several companies to test the role of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in supporting the coronavirus (Covid-19) response.

UPS and subsidiary UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF), Virginia’s Centre for Innovative Technology (CIT) and Workhorse Group are the collaborators.

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Under this initiative, the ‘fast-paced simulation’ tests focused on how UAS can support medical professionals in restricting the spread of Covid-19.

Earlier this month, the participants conducted exercises for three days at St Paul’s College campus in Lawrenceville, Virginia.

Data has been gathered that will provide insights into how private-sector drone operators can assist in activities such as emergency response and certain patient care.

DroneUp CEO Tom Walker said: “Many in the public, along with federal, state and local officials, are asking how drones can be used in this time of crisis.

“Rather than speculate, it is incumbent upon our industry to conduct operationally based exercises that produce factual data and lessons learned to ensure we can respond safely, effectively and efficiently when called upon. Data collected now will impact our capabilities beyond the Covid-19 outbreak we are currently facing.”

These findings and any recommendations from the test will be included in

A report, which will be sent to the White House, is being prepared and will include the findings and recommendations if any from the tests.

These could prove useful when forming a coronavirus response plan.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said: “I am encouraged to see so many private sector partners stepping up and thinking innovatively as we work together to combat Covid-19.

“Drones can be an important way to deliver medical supplies while people stay home to adhere to our social distancing guidelines. Virginia is well-positioned to be a leader in the unmanned system industry, and we are pleased to be part of this initiative.”

Global confirmed cases of Covid-19 have surpassed 2.5 million while the death toll stood at 177,466.