SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — GENIUS NY Finalist EagleHawk has developed a way to use drone technology for disinfecting large public gathering areas.
The company has been working from its offices in the Syracuse Tech Garden for the past several weeks to come up with this solution.
EagleHawk first came to Syracuse in January of 2019 as part of the State’s drone accelerator program. Their company was using drones and infrared technology to inspect structures, including roofs for possible leaks.
“As many companies, we were like shoot, what do we do, but luckily we’re a team of engineers and we have a lot of ingenuity and we thought how can we be part of the solution how can we help,” says Patrick Walsh, CEO & co-Founder of EagleHawk with Willard Schulmeister.
They quickly pivoted to using drones to clean and disinfect large venues, like arenas, and used the Syracuse War Memorial for testing.
Walsh tells NewsChannel 9, “The biggest thing is making sure you apply enough product that it stays wet long enough to be able to kill the virus, so that’s why we couldn’t use off the shelf drones and we had to develop our own solution because we were finding we couldn’t meet those wet times with the technology that existed today.”
EagleHawk is working closely with regulatory agencies such as the FAA, EPA and New York DEC to ensure all safety standards and protocols are followed.
They use disinfectant chemicals approved by the EPA and New York DEC for effectiveness against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and our process places the highest priority on the safety of personnel and protection of facility equipment.
“We’re using a sensor that allows us to navigate indoors safely so we can detect cables as small as a half an inch that allows us to fly around the nets and do different things like that,” Walsh says.
They’ve also tested outside at Sahlen Field, where Buffalo Bisons play Triple A baseball.
Walsh says large public gathering areas, such as stadiums and arenas, will need to be disinfected on a regular basis for the public to feel comfortable attending events again.
He adds, common methods of disinfection, including using crews of people to clean and disinfect areas by hand, are time-consuming and too costly to scale across large areas.
“We’re just excited to be able to be able to be part of the potential solution,” Walsh explains to NewsChannel 9.
The CDC, the World Health Organization, and other health authorities have emphasized that both washing hands and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily are key to preventing the spread of COVID-19.