Chinese agritech startup XAG announces about $0.75 million fund for drone disinfection operation to fight Coronavirus outbreak
Coronavirus, a virus that cause diseases in mammals and birds, has claimed the lives of more than 300 people in China. As the overall death toll passed 360, the Chinese government expanded a quarantine in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the Coronavirus began. So far, has spread through more than 20 countries and become a global health emergency.
The Chinese government is not alone in stopping the spread of this deadly virus. Research organizations around the world and startup companies and working together to fight and stop the virus. To address the urgent need for strengthening disease prevention measures, a Chinese agriculture tech startup XAG announced on Friday that it would set up a 5-million-yuan special fund on Coronavirus response, calling for voluntary drone disinfection operations in China, which is hardest hit by the epidemic.
Founded in 2007, XAG, formerly known as XAIRCRAFT, is a world-leading agriculture technology company with 12 years of technical experience in unmanned aerial system (UAS) and 6 years of practical experience in innovative field applications. Having 42,000 agricultural drones in operation, XAG has served 6.37 million farmers with precision crop protection services on 20 million hectares of farmland. To empower the next-gen global farmers, XAG is dedicated to building digital farming infrastructure, developing precision farming equipment, such as robots, drones, AI and IoT, and creating smart agriculture ecosystems.
XAG is actively pitching in to combat the contagious coronavirus with innovative technologies, as well as assisting local governments on public health safety. The 5-million-yuan fund is committed to providing XAG’s agricultural drone users with technical support to properly carry out aerial disinfectant sprays that help curb the spread of virus, especially in rural villages with weaker health systems and poorer sanitation conditions. Operations will target the densely populated outdoor public places and those communities having confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus. Another focus of applications is intensive cleaning and disinfection of medical and epidemic prevention vehicles moving between affected and unaffected areas.
During the nationwide drone disinfection operation, XAG will cover all the spare parts and maintenance expenses for those who voluntarily engage. Also, strict qualification approval and standard operation procedure (SOP) are implemented to ensure safety and legitimacy. Disinfecting actions would be taken under the permission of Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and relevant government authorities.
According to the Novel Coronavirus Treatment Proposal (Fourth Edition) published by National Health Commission of China, coronavirus is mainly travelled via respiratory droplets, but it can also spread by touching contaminated surfaces. Dr. Mara Van Kerkhove, a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s emergency committee, also confirmed the possibility of coronavirus spreading via fomites.
Agricultural drone, as an autonomous precision spraying tool, can be a highly effective alternative to accurately release disinfectants over public places. Compared with traditional disinfection approaches conducted by hands or lorry, drones can be directed to spray where it is needed and cover a wider area, helping to improve public hygiene and reducing the risk of virus transmission through surface contact. In China’s Shandong province, XAG’s drone fleets were deployed by a crop protection team on 28 January to disinfect a local community of over 300,000 square metres in less than 4 hours.