Public life and the dynamic global economy came to a standstill as the COVID-19 virus spread worldwide. Suddenly, the social activities people enjoy in their everyday lives—going to a concert, having dinner with friends or dancing the night away in a club—became unthinkable. Individuals, governments and businesses were woefully ill-prepared.
The low-cost international travel that linked people for pleasure and business also enabled the spread of COVID-19 to almost every country in the world and was ground to a halt as countries closed their borders and airlines cancelled flights. Schools closed, non-essential workers and the elderly were told to stay at home in self-isolation. Governments put various lockdown measures in place in an effort to stop the tide.
Unfortunately, infections and deaths continued to rise rapidly in some of the most developed nations in the world. Critical shortages of ventilators and personal protective equipment caused higher death rates.
Despite the bleak stories of tragedy and death, the global health crisis also brought out the good in humanity; many became more interested in growing and cooking their own food, exploring their creativity at home and helping elderly or vulnerable neighbors with grocery shopping and other essentials.
Institutions that we once thought of as physical spaces have been resilient and transformed themselves into the digital realm. Children have continued their schooling at home, universities and colleges have offered classes online and enterprises have become more digital, either by allowing their workforce to work from home or by offering online shopping and support. Advances in digitalization and the leveraging of existing technologies that allow people to work, shop and study remotely using smart connected devices made this ecosystem of change possible.
The next generation of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and drones are bringing us to the next level in anticipating and automating for the future. How can we use this opportunity to take better advantage of these technologies and build improved infrastructures that will respond better to crises?
The goal of the latest NXP HoverGames competition is to help humanity learn from recent developments and find innovative ways to connect with each other, protect vulnerable populations and meet critical demands in future global health crises. We’re challenging you to come up with innovative ways for a drone to prevent the spread of disease and improve crisis management during a future pandemic.
Drones are unmanned and can perform essential tasks that would normally put a human in danger of exposure to a virus or dangerous chemicals. Because they can fly, drones also can cut the response time required for road travel. The first NXP HoverGames Challenge demonstrated how we can help firefighters and first responders. Competitors can adapt and apply ideas from the first challenge to the second challenge. In addition, NXP HoverGames Challenge 2 participants get the opportunity to include vision in their solutions.
Ideally, an NXP HoverGames drone should be able to carry out its mission as autonomously as possible. With the help of your code, your drone could address many theoretical scenarios. It could be activated by a signal from an ill person and fly out immediately or it could provide a communication and data link for emergency responders at the scene of a crisis. Your drone might be geared for a pharmaceutical dispatch unit that carries essential prescriptions directly to vulnerable patients in their homes. It may also be programmed to provide augmented communication networks between isolated populations and first responders.
When it comes to your NXP HoverGames entry, we want your imagination to run wild. The sky is literally the limit!
>> Sign up and learn more about how NXP HoverGames Challenge 2 plans to remove barriers in pandemics.
This is the second NXP HoverGames Challenge. Read more about the winners of the first challenge, “Fighting Fires with Flyers,” in our first blog.