Mercedes-Benz Stadium is using drone technology as part of the stadium’s holistic cleaning protocol in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stadium has partnered with Charlotte, North Carolina-based Lucid Drone Technologies to offer D1 disinfecting drones to sanitize key areas in a more efficient and effective manner. This technology has been tested as part of the sanitization process and will be implemented as the stadium team welcomes fans back for the Falcons home game against the Carolina Panthers Oct. 11.
“The process of welcoming fans back involves actively listening and responding to their concerns and we understand that proper cleaning and sanitization protocols are top of mind in the current environment.” says Dietmar Exler, COO of AMB Sports and Entertainment. “We have worked tirelessly to provide a safe environment for not only our associates, players and staff, but especially our fans.”
Stadium operators were exploring the use of drones prior to the pandemic, but accelerated the process, making Mercedes-Benz the first professional sports stadium to adopt the technology.
The drones use electrostatic spraying nozzles for even distribution of medical-grade disinfecting chemicals including an inhibitor that prevents harmful bacteria and virus to adhere to surfaces without leaving a residue. In addition, their unique, wrap-around effect helps distribute the disinfectant to hard-to-reach areas. Stadium officials say the non-toxic Hypochlorous Acid solution used is in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency for maximum effectiveness without being harmful.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stadium leadership worked with Lucid to implement its purpose-built drones that were designed specifically for disinfecting large facilities. This technology will be used for post-event disinfecting of the seating bowl, handrails, and glass partitions at the stadium. The drones allow for a 95 percent reduction in time spent cleaning the seating bowl and the ability to redeploy associates in other areas of the stadium and fourteen times more efficiency than regular backpack foggers.
“This stadium is incredibly large and as we begin to slowly welcome fans back, these drones allow us to maximize the time between games and private events to thoroughly sanitize,” said Jackie Poulakos, Manager, building operations. “We are always challenged by leadership to continually innovate and this new technology is the ideal solution to effectively disinfect and sanitize our stadium in an efficient manner.”
The drone is the newest addition to the extensive stadium cleaning and sanitization program, which includes daily cleaning using GenEon’s ionized solution that kills harmful germs and bacteria, while being safe for humans. Additionally, the stadium added a Sanitation Team for hourly disinfecting, 600 hand sanitizer dispensers and monthly anti-viral coating to help reduce the risk of exposure and spread of the virus.