UJ’s blimp, Rudderless – a novel solution to ensure compliance with social distancing measures

Date: May 18, 2020 | News

​A small group of international scientists are turning to the sky as one way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

According to Professor Qingguo Wang of the Institute of Intelligent Systems (IIS) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), a ‘pandemic drone’ and other aviation technology could ensure that citizens comply with prevention measures.


“UJ and researchers at Beihang University in Beijing joined forces to find an alternative solution to ensure compliance with social distancing measures that were implemented by most countries worldwide. The result, an unmanned aerial vehicle, named Rudderless,” said Prof Wang.

Rudderless, is a new generation of drones with guaranteed safety and superior performance. “The interdisciplinary team has reinvented the blimp by designing technology that could be used to monitoring social distancing, spot if people are wearing masks and even track whether they have a fever,” explains Prof Wang.

Measuring approximately 4.5 meters long, 1.2 meters wide and 2 meters high with a weight of about 8kg, the airship’s working time is about 4 hours.

Prof Wang concludes: “We envision that the use of thermal and infrared cameras; real-time images and the control of distance between people; and the direct reporting to relevant parties via wireless communication will transform the aviation sector. We trust that the rollout of the autonomous airship technologies will be instrumental during the pandemic.”

air baloon

Latest News

| View All News

UJ women’s U21 football team settles for silver in Pirates…

Twenty (20) Under-21 women’s football teams put up a fierce


UJ and TUT collaborate to launch TUT Hub of the…

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) in partnership with the Tshwane


Vice-Chancellor Message – 24 March 2023

Dear UJ Community, UJ has, in recent years, established itself


80-year-old graduates with a PhD from the University of Johannesburg

Henry Ford’s famous quote “Anyone who keeps learning stays young.


UJ ranks among best universities globally for 13 subjects

The University of Johannesburg (UJ)’s academic prowess and quality of