Skip to main content

Spanish cops deploy speaker-drones to enforce coronavirus lockdown

As China grappled to contain the coronavirus earlier this month, reports emerged of how the authorities there were turning to drone technology for assistance.

The remotely controlled flying machines were adapted to carry a range of equipment, including chemical spray jets for disinfecting outdoor spaces, thermal sensors to detect people’s body temperatures, and loudspeakers for ordering people to return home or to wear a mask when out and about.

Having put the country into lockdown over the weekend as part of its own drastic measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — Spain, too, has started putting drones in the sky to help tackle the ongoing situation.

The Madrid Municipal Police posted a video on Twitter on Sunday showing a quadcopter in the sky fitted with a loudspeaker telling people who were on the street to return home if they weren’t supposed to be out.

A message posted with the video said (translated): “We will not hesitate to use all the means at our disposal to ensure your security and that of everyone, although some still make it difficult for us …”

The government has ordered its population of 47 million people to remain indoors for at least the next 15 days in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, which in Spain has so far led to nearly 350 deaths from almost 10,000 reported cases, making it the fourth worst-hit country at the current time, after China, Italy, and Iran.

The emergency order allows people to leave their homes to buy food, collect medicines, see a doctor, and commute to work. All schools and universities in Spain are now closed, as are restaurants, bars, hotels, and other non-essential retail businesses.

While Madrid police could also stick speakers on cars and bellow out its message while driving the streets (it may well be doing that, too), the camera-equipped drones can also help cops to more easily find people wandering around, and also offer easy access to pedestrian-only spaces like parks.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
We could soon be coughing into our phones to see if we have COVID-19
google search can now teach you how to pronounce tricky words speaker phone

Imagine if you could open an app on your smartphone and simply cough to discover right there and then if you have COVID-19.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say they have developed such a method, which could be used as part of broader measures to get the virus under control.

Read more
How about privately renting an AMC theater for just $99?
Samsung World First Cinema LED Display Super S Theater

Fancy kicking back in a movie theater with some of your buddies like it’s your own personal screening?

Well, thanks to a number of cinema chains recently opening their theaters for private rental, you can do just that.

Read more
Space station astronaut dons mask in prep for return to Earth
space station astronaut dons mask in prep for return to earth chris cassidy nasa face

After six months on the International Space Station (ISS), NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy has donned a face mask in readiness for his return to a planet that is still very much grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Masked up on @Space_Station!” Cassidy wrote in a post on Twitter on Monday. “Training myself for my new reality when I get home on Wednesday.”

Read more