The Atlanta Falcons will welcome fans back to the Mercedes-Benz stadium for the first time, but as the coronavirus still lingers in the US, team officials are also inviting germ killing drones to the facility.
The aerial vehicles are fitted with spraying nozzles to disperse medical-grade disinfecting chemicals the seating bowl, handrails, and glass partitions in the arena.
Using the technology allows for a 95 percent reduction in time spent cleaning the facility, Atlanta Falcons team officials say.
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.
Jackie Poulakos, manager of building operations, said: ‘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.’
‘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 disinfectant is a non-toxic Hypochlorous Acid solution that, officials say, is in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for maximum effectiveness without being harmful.
The drones will be deployed after games are held in the stadium to disinfect all surfaces, which has been found to be 14 times more efficient than backpack foggers
Dietmar Exler, COO of AMB Sports and Entertainment, said: ‘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.’
‘We have worked tirelessly to provide a safe environment for not only our associates, players and staff, but especially our fans.’
The drones will be used for the first time when the Flacons take on the Caronlina Panthers – a team that is already using technology to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The Panthers are employing a LightStrike Germ-Zapping robot that emits bursts of intense UV light that damages virus DNA – rendering it useless.
Eddie Levins, director of security and infectious control officer for the Carolina Panthers and Bank of America Stadium, said: ‘We began using the robots to disinfect the locker rooms, weight room, rehab areas and offices during camp, and we’ve expanded utilization throughout the building and throughout the stadium.’
‘We can use it in suites, using it in any public space that we need a quick down-and-dirty sanitization. We clean it, and then we disinfect it so it’s ready to go, so people can feel safe coming in here again.’
The Panthers have two of the machines and may obtain more in the future if necessary.
The team is also using two LightStrike Disinfection Pods, which are mobile containment units that enable the power of the LightStrike robot’s intense, germicidal light to be used anywhere in a facility.
The Pods are currently used to disinfect player pads, cleats and helmets after every practice.