Demand is surging for contactless provision of meals, medical supplies and other products

Unmanned vehicles, airborne or earthbound, have been pressed into anti-pandemic service the world over. In Mexican slums they spray disinfectant from the sky. “Shout drones” with loudspeakers scold socially undistanced Americans, Chinese and Europeans. Most consequential, the popularity of contactless provision of food and medical supplies is boosting the drone-delivery business.

Before covid-19 MarketsandMarkets, a research firm, reckoned this would generate revenues of $800m this year. Now it says $1bn is closer to the mark, and has revised its forecast for 2022 from $1.6bn to $2.2bn. Many other analysts agree.