How Drones Can Help Fight the Coronavirus

4 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020

See all articles by Brent Skorup

Brent Skorup

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Connor Haaland


Date Written: March 26, 2020


Public health measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have introduced “social distancing” into the national lexicon. Drone companies believe they can help. Drone technology is ready to break out into a mass service and reduce person-to-person contact. There are a few dozen pilot programs throughout the United States and some limited commercial deployments for services such as medical delivery, parcel delivery, utilities inspection, and crop spraying. These programs have shown drones to be technically feasible for the set of tasks tested, and some of them have even tested business models with a measure of success. A crisis like the current pandemic has a way of focusing the minds of regulators on key questions—in this case, can the use of drones be scaled up?

Keywords: commercial drones, drones, unmanned vehicles, technology, innovation, regulation, coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, public health

JEL Classification: O00, O31, I00, I18

Suggested Citation

Skorup, Brent and Haaland, Connor, How Drones Can Help Fight the Coronavirus (March 26, 2020). Mercatus Center Research Paper Series, Special Edition Policy Brief (2020), Available at SSRN: or

Brent Skorup (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Connor Haaland

Independent ( email )

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