It’s no secret by now that drones can be found in virtually every industry. Now, even those with authority rely on technological capabilities made possible by the UAV movement, namely security, surveillance and protection. In the United States alone, Bard Collfege’s Center for the Study of the Drone estimated that about 910 state local police and emergency services agencies acquired drones by the end of 2017. The trend persists worldwide, with some Asian countries even the following suit.
There are many prominent ways in which drones save lives, solve crimes and collect crucial data for emergencies.
Here are just a few instances that they have been used in.
Patrol agents often have to conduct security measures across the border, surveying arduous, long mountainous stretches that are often dangerous if not challenging. Drones are perfect for these kinds of tasks, and border patrol teams have begun to deploy unmanned surveillance aircraft to detect suspicious activity happening along the treacherous terrain. In the United States, the oldest drone model to be used for patrols – known as the Predator B – is a 36-foot-long juggernaut that weighs nearly 5,000 pounds. It was essentially built for military use, being able to carry and deploy explosives, missiles and other weaponry. However, at the border, it’s used for surveillance assignments (to detect and identify illegal crossings).
In 2018, a terrible atrocity unfolded in the form of a shooting in Las Vegas which claimed the lives of 58 people. Since then, Californian police officers have started to deploy drones for surveillance. It’s an added security measure, focusing primarily on the traffic at Coachella (with UAVs hovering along a pre-determined route over the 250,000 plus-attendee festivals). Videos extracted directly from the drones’ monitoring system are sent to officers to review further.
Preliminary action against crime
Drones can be used to detect danger beforehand and this can prove to be an effective advantage that saves lives and reduces casualties on either side. Take, for instance, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke’s story. He encountered three men armed with rifles while he was looking for missing cows.
Janke retreated and called for reinforcements which arrived shortly along with a Predator B drone. The unmanned aircraft was equipped with sophisticated sensors that helped pinpoint the three suspects. The Predator confirmed they were unarmed at the time, so officers rushed in and made the arrests. No lives were lost, no standoff occurred.
Sometimes, UAVs are in the wrong hands and can be used to cause mischief. Thankfully, technology has kept up with the times and there are now drone-detecting devices that can receive signals emitted by drones. These detectors can cover over 1,000 yards and we can already see them in action in certain security operations in Tokyo. Police have been able to detect illegal drones and secure charges. Authorities in Tokyo are now planning to use similar detectors along with a barrage of other tools like jamming guns outside of certain venues.
Drones deployed in prisons
South Korea piloted a prison guard robot and a drone pilot. Not long after the announcement, the robot – which featured rolling wheels, thermal sensors and a built-in camera were scrapped after some technical, as well as privacy issues, came up.
Use of the drone, however, is still ongoing. The six-month pilot would see deployed drones surveying the inside and outside of several prison facilities. If all goes smoothly, this development could add yet another use for drones – autonomously relieving the work of prison wardens and increasing the efficiency of security measures.
Drones for lost and found cases
DJI released a report in April 2018 about the use of drones for police assistance procedures in a variety of rescue mission. The data that they gathered from outside news outlets showed that drones have helped police save 65 lives within the past 12 months leading up to the release of the report. Drones can incorporate AI-driven capabilities, thermal imaging cameras and other advanced technology to detect, identify and confirm who individuals are. The drones in this report saved the lives of at least 15 victims who were not visible due to the darkness of surrounding obstacles.
Lost hikers, children or other missing people are sometimes missed by first responders who often have to track dangerous terrain, which is why drones may play a huge role in the future of rescue missions. UAVs can also locate and identify subjects before human officers are deployed.
Drones seem to have come quite far. The empowerment of many industrial and emergency applications through the use of drones is a very clear possibility. More lives are saved, economies are boosted, production is doubled and efficiency is reinforced via the existence and continual development of drone tech.
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