Irish scientists have collaborated to develop an autonomous drone to deliver sterilising ultraviolet light to disinfect public spaces.

The drone has been developed by researchers at NUI Galway' s Health Innovation via Engineering Lab and hopes to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

UV light is harmful to humans, so this drone can be used to sterlise surfaces in public places when they are not occupied, such as night-time.

The drone is programmed to switch on at a pre-defined time, autonomously fly around the public space and when finished cleaning, land again for recharging.

The device uses UVC, which is high frequency, short wavelength radiation that can destroy the genetic material of microorganisms, preventing them from reproducing.

The project was led by NUI Galway's Professor Derek O'Keeffe and Dr Ted Vaughan, with Dr Kevin Johnson from the University of Limerick.

Professor O’Keeffe said that "innovative: solutions are needed to fight Covid-19. "Our drone solution allows the delivery of sterilising ultraviolet light to a wide variety of public space landscapes from staircases to shop floors," he said.

Dr Johnson added, "Covid-19 is a public health emergency and our drone is another important tool to help us defeat it."