Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

An Australian bank wants to spray disinfectant from drones in schools and aged care

This is fine, no reason to have a dystopic outlook at all.

westpac-drones-disinfectant.png

Help when it matters, or dystopia

Image: Westpac

The next family dinner with my hypothetic crazy uncle Charlie is going to be a lot more interesting, with one of Australia's largest companies deciding to enter the insane world of chemtrails.

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In response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the planet, Westpac has decided the drones it uses with Little Ripper Group to spot crocodiles in Queensland, and to help prevent people drowning in the ocean, can be used instead to drown playgrounds in disinfectant as well.

"Through clever innovation, Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Our fleet of specialised drones will be able to spray environmentally-friendly disinfectant to ensure public spaces remain safe," the bank tweeted on Thursday.

"Help when it matters."

In its video, the bank said the drones could be used to spray schools, universities, child care centres, aged-care facilities, hospitals, and supermarkets.

Westpac also said the speakers in its drones could be used to make public announcements.

Nothing says 2020 more than being sprayed with chemicals from a corporate-branded drone, while simultaneously being harassed by a disembodied voice.

In less insane responses to COVID-19, the bank finally embraced Apple Pay earlier this week.

"We have seen a significant increase in customers using digital banking in recent weeks as more Australians stay at home," Westpac Group chief executive of consumer David Lindberg said on Tuesday.

Westpac was previously part of the banking group that lost a legal fight against Apple to try to gain access to iPhone NFC technology to implement their own payment solutions, rather than use Apple Pay.

The banks baulked at settling for payment alternatives such as Android Pay, calling them unrealistic in the Australian market.

Then again, if you'd said yesterday a bank would want to fly around some anti-coronavirus tiny crop dusters, unrealistic would have been one of the milder responses.

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Some may come out on top when this topsy-turvy world ends.