Remote Piloted Aerial Surveillance
Are you ready
to be inspired?
There's no doubt that aerial surveillance has moved quickly from hobbyists & amateur flyers to commercial, industrial and emergency services use; and the 'use cases' continue to grow almost daily.
These devices have become far more sophisticated, through mass production development and specialist systems & software integration, Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) operation is now something that we in public space surveillance can no longer ignore and may, in the near future, even begin to embrace.
What's in a name?
Back in 2013, I delivered a presentation at the annual CCTV User Group conference showing an image of an Unmanned Aerial Surveillance drone with the title "Here's My New Town Centre CCTV System' above it. Yes, it was a 'tongue in cheek' but there was a serious point to be made too.
With the creation of DJI in China, their rapid growth with innovative, enterprise-class aircraft with enhanced navigation, 6-axis collision avoidance and HD cameras (even FLIR thermal image cameras are available for them) they have heralded in new possibilities for surveillance, search & rescue, surveying high structures like masts, towers and wind turbines for example. This leap forward opens the possibilities of the use of UAS for public space surveillance.
Of course, some serious challenges still exist before the widespread adoption and use of unmanned aerial surveillance is possible within the public realm. These include the requirement that the operator (or pilot) must be able to actually see the aircraft in use whilst flying. This is hugely impractical for public space surveillance purposes.
Only when this requirement changes will fully remote UAS or drone flight operations be possible; where true remote launch, operation and recovery become a reality will the use of this technology be truly beneficial to the communities we serve. Only then will we be able to maximise their use for community safety in support of police and for public community purposes for example, as part of event safety & security operations.
Despite these limitations, it is now time to start a conversation about how we can exploit the capabilities of this technology and to be able to better serve our communities and stakeholders.