The 2021 NBA All-Star Game, set to tip off in Atlanta on March 7, won’t bring in the in-person fan base that such an event has in the past.
But there will be a different type of spectator in the stands: Drones.
The State Farm Arena has tapped Charlotte, North Carolina-based Lucid Drones to help expand the venue’s cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Lucid’s D1 Disinfecting Drone (D1) will be deployed to sanitize the 17,5000 seat stadium.
This is the first NBA arena to implement drone-enabled sanitization protocols.
Lucid has already been leveraged at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz stadium. “We saw their work at a neighboring venue,” Geoff Stiles, Senior Vice President, Facilities and Events for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena, told Hypepotamus. “The Lucid team was working with them to develop an exterior cleaning solution and pivoted when the pandemic hit to sanitizing seats. We went over and met with their team to get a demo – and moved forward from there.”
The D1 is designed to work specifically within indoor arenas like the one at State Farm, which is unique within the standard GPS-enabled drones. The 27-pound drone can hold up to 10-liters of cleaning solutions and is said to be able to clean State Farm Arena in an hour and a half.
The NBA All-Star Weekend has been truncated to a one-day event due to the pandemic. The second half of the Hawks’ season will begin on March 13, where the capacity will remain limited to 8%.
The drones are one of several technology-enabled innovations that are helping the venue comply with health and safety guidelines.
“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,” said Andrew Ashur, CEO/Co-founder Lucid Drone Tech.
State Farm Arena and the Atlanta Hawks have also worked with Atlanta-based Sharecare to develop its “Safety Six” protocols.