By Admir, pharmacist by profession and hobby dronist by passion. He runs a review/news website on drones -https://dronepedia.xyz and 2 big Instagram community pages. You can find him on Twitter @derAdmir.
With the advent of affordable drone surveillance technology the ease of monitoring high-value areas has never been easier. Drones have been in use by the military for many years, but in the last few years the cost of civilian drone technology has fallen rapidly. The opportunities for security professionals are growing by the day and the capabilities that drones offer are truly unique.
With the combination of small, lightweight video cameras, and relatively inexpensive drones, security professionals are now able to use drones for many unique applications that change the way we need to think about video surveillance.
It is perhaps best to think of a drone as a flying cctv camera that can be deployed for a limited amount of time. For the time being, drones are best piloted by an experienced person, and used in concert with other security equipment.
The use of drones for surveillance can be broken down into two categories; defense and reconnaissance. Drones are indispensable for both tasks, and offer abilities that no other form of surveillance technology can.
Because they can move with great speed, and can also be outfitted with many different types of imaging equipment, drones offer security options that will make it much easier to capture video in almost any situation.
When you want to give your security guard the capability to follow up on any disturbance in the area that they are monitoring, think about drones. They are easier to use outdoors, but if you want to be able to use them inside of obstructed buildings, wi-fi control systems can make that possible as well.
Take the example of a shipping container yard. Because containers are huge obstacles for both visual light and infra-red, it is difficult to install cameras that give adequate coverage for security personal.
In a situation like this, having drones as a part of the overall security system will make it much easier for a single monitoring guard to follow-up an anything that the fixed cameras or motion senors detect.
All the guard has to do is launch the drone, if it does not have an automatic launching system, and pilot the drone to the area where the disturbance was observed. A drone can be equipped with infra-red sensing cameras, making it almost impossible for a person to hide from it.
In addition to its rapid deployment a drone can maneuver quickly, so that if the guard needs to get an overall view of the area and then isolate a disturbance, the drone will facilitate that in a way that no other technology could.
For areas like large parking lots or open public areas, drones represent an innovative way for both private companies and communities to take defensive surveillance to the next level, and either deter crimes or capture the identity of the perpetrators.
Drones are equally capable when it comes to video reconnaissance, and represent an invaluable addition to any security or surveillance system if not the most important part of it. Because a drone is both mobile and moves far faster than a human, the contribution they are making currently is enormous.
One of the first and most important areas where drones were adopted for video surveillance was in police departments world wide. It is hard to imagine an area of policing that won’t benefit from drones, and they have already be embraced with open arms by thousands of police departments.
In addition to preventive surveillance during events or public disturbances, police drones make it possible to pursue suspects in conditions that an officer that was on foot or even in a car could not.
Drones can also help police to investigate areas that would be dangerous to enter, or inaccessible to a person. The advantages to this are tremendous and we are just beginning to explore all the advantages that surveillance drones can offer law enforcement.
Search and Rescue
When disasters happen, one of the hardest things is trying to find the people who survived, but with drone surveillance, this task just got a whole lot easier.
Drones can use the same infra-red cameras that help them find the perpetrators of crimes to look through the rubble after an earthquake or typhoon. And they can do it quickly.
Sorting through a disaster zone on the ground is a harrowing task, but drones can help rescue workers isolate areas where there are the signs of life.
Saving valuable time, and life.
After a massive typhoon swept through the Philippines a British photographer was taking some video of the aftermath. But while he was looking through the viewfinder, he spotted a few souls that were stuck in the wreckage.
Because of him and his drone, the people he found lived.
Drones are equally at home providing video surveillance for industrial applications that are not security related, like inspecting the integrity of pipelines or smokestacks.
Many industrial structures are hard to get around, and very large. There are also many types of “light” that are not visible to the human eye, but are invaluable when it comes to preventing industrial disasters.
Drones can be outfitted with special, industry specific camera that can help find potential problems long in advance of a accident. And because they can go just about anywhere, places in industrial facilities that would be impossible for a human to go are no longer hard to reach.
Inspecting remote pipelines in harsh conditions is no longer an obstacle to their maintenance. Drones can easily be designed to take advantage of the existing infrastructure, and work to ensure the proper functioning of our energy infrastructure.
It can be a daunting task to inspect a huge structure like a bridge for stress fractures, but with drones, many of these tasks can be done automatically.
Using special kinds of scanning equipment, and algorithms that inspect every millimeter of a bridge or dam, small problems can be prevented from becoming large ones.
The potential for drones in the area of civil maintenance is enormous, and the benefits in cost savings and safety are beyond measure.
While the systems would have to be largely custom, the value of the infrastructure is far beyond the cost of maintaining it in most cases.
An Open Sky
At this point, we are just entering into a new age that greets us with seemingly endless opportunities to utilize drone surveillance technology to our benefit. It will be incredible to see how drones are implemented to better our way of life, keep us safe and ensure the integrity of the infrastructure that we depend on to survive.