ATLANTA –– State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, has implemented the latest in drone technology as a part of the venue’s cleaning and disinfecting protocols. The award-winning arena has enlisted Lucid Drone Technologies, a cutting-edge drone company based out of Charlotte, NC and its D1 Disinfecting Drone (D1) to help in sanitizing the 17,500 seat venue between events, a first for any NBA arena.
The approximately 27-pound drone holds a 10-liter tank of cleaning solution and is equipped with multiple sets of batteries and a custom charger to allow for continuous cleaning cycles. At full charge, the D1 can cover 150,000 square feet in an hour, making the total time to disinfect State Farm Arena one-and-a-half hours. Unlike most drone systems, which are based on GPS based navigation and do not work well indoors, the D1 is programmed using an indoor flight mode, and is built specifically to dispense disinfectant products, rather than taking pictures and videos.
“With the health and safety of everyone that enters State Farm Arena as our primary concern, we are continually looking for new ways to improve processes and achieve the highest standard of operational efficiency possible,” Geoffrey Stiles, Senior Vice President, Facilities and Events for the Hawks and State Farm Arena. “The use of Lucid’s technology has allowed some of our staff to develop a new skillset, while others have been redeployed to new tasks in the arena for better use of our manpower.”
Operating the D1 involves a two-person team: one pilot and one safety spotter. The pilot is responsible for flying the drone and dispensing the disinfectant solution, while the safety spotter is connected to the pilot via headset, allowing the spotter to constantly relay important flight information regarding safety, efficiency, and effectiveness. As part of the D1 implementation, several of the arena’s current staff are becoming certified drone pilots.
“The pandemic has created many difficulties for large venues, like professional sports stadiums, as there are a limited number of hours between events. With our drones, our customers have been able to disinfect up to 14x faster than traditional methods,” Andrew Ashur, CEO/Co-founder Lucid Drone Tech.
Due to COVID protocols, State Farm Arena is currently at eight-percent capacity for Hawks home games. Two weeks ago, the NBA announced that the Atlanta venue would now host the 2021 NBA All-Star game on Sunday, Mar. 7, previously scheduled for Indianapolis. The annual weekend-long event has been truncated to one day of festivities and will be invite-only with a similarly reduced number of attendees. The second half of the 20-21 NBA season schedule has the Hawks returning to their home court on Saturday, Mar. 13 versus the Sacramento Kings.
State Farm Arena and the Atlanta Hawks continue to lead the way in innovating around health and safety procedures for sports and live event venues. Besides the use of the new drone apparatus, last month the venue introduced its “Safety Six” protocols to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, developed with input from industry experts in healthcare, live events, hospitality, and food service, including Sharecare and Emory Healthcare. State Farm Arena is also the first facility to receive the Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED™ designation, an extensive certification system with 140+ expert-validated standards which establish a consistent global baseline for health security.
For additional information on the Hawks and State Farm Arena’s health and safety protocols, visit Hawks.com/safety.