The Atlanta Falcons will start welcoming in fans next week for the first time when they host the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium next week.
In an effort to clean the stadium efficiently and safely — something even more important now amid the COVID-19 pandemic — the Falcons are turning to technology.
The team will use a pair of drones to sanitize the stadium, and are believed to be the first team to use drones in that way.
Falcons to clean stadium with drones
Following home games, two drones will be used to sanitize the seating areas inside the stadium. A third drone will be on hand if needed.
The drones, the stadium announced, will spray medical-grade disinfecting chemicals around the areas where fans sit during the game — something they say actually allows for a 95 percent reduction in time spent cleaning the seating bowl.
— MercedesBenzStadium (@MBStadium) October 1, 2020
“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,” stadium building operations manager Jackie Poulakos said in a statement. “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.”
Panthers using ‘germ-zapping robot’
Though the Falcons are the first team to use drones to clean their stadium, the Panthers have been using a “germ-zapping robot.”
According to ESPN, a Xenex LightStrike Robot claims to be “the world’s only proven coronavirus killing Xenon UV-Ray Robot,” which the company claims is “99.9 percent effective at killing the coronavirus germ within two minutes.”
The Panthers have been using that robot in locker rooms, office spaces and other parts of the stadium and team facilities.
“What you put in an operating room at a hospital, we want to make sure we had for our locker room and weight room and our suites and restroom,” Panthers president Tom Glick said, via ESPN. “We’ve been using them all summer and we’re using them in advance and after the game on Sunday.”
The Panthers will host the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, and will allow just more than 5,000 fans attend.
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