According to a story published on UT San Diego, authorities in Tijuana, Mexico, are planning to buy several drones/multirotors from 3D Robotics to “monitor traffic, evaluate accident scenes, detect landslides and control wildfires”.
“The main idea is that they help with surveillance of the city,” Major Jorge Astiazarán said in an interview. “This won’t just be used for public safety, but to see how the city is growing, discover clandestine dumps … monitor any land movement in a remote area that has gone undetected.”
The drones – quadcopters in the available videos – are provided by the Italian/Swiss company Aerial View.
Click on the image below for the full story and the video on the Euronews website:
Here’s a statement from Omar Morando, Aerial View pilot:
“All the drones have a transmitter that sends in real time the video signal from the camera to a ground station, where there is a HD monitor that can visualise what the camera is recording. Besides you can see the same pictures with special glasses which have inside a micro-monitor. When you wear these glasses, you have the same sensation as you would watch a 42-inch monitor”
Staff member from the Calhoun State prison in Georgia spotted a suspicious “helicopter” flying over the prison.
Rather than an helicopter, it looks like something visitors of this site are very familiar with: a DJI F500 hexacopter with a NAZA flight board, controlled by a Spectrum DX radio:
This unusual visit prompted a search on the premises surroundings, and after an hour Deputies noticed a suspicious Dodge car with 4 people onboard, two males and two females, and the multirotor.
“Everybody had several cell phones with different contacts. People try different things but the helicopter was something new. It is a surprise I’ve never seen a helicopter. They were in the woods flying it they had binoculars evidently so they could watch it,” Hilton said.
This had to happen sooner or later. Quadcopters and multirotors are an obvious easy way to bypass any kind of wall, perimeter, country border et-cetera, and maybe deliver illegal items such as drugs for example.
During a flight training session the drone apparently looses battery power and crashes into a river. Officers responsible for the crash were “given advice” (a dressing down in police slang). The costs of the incident were covered by insurance. Interestingly
“during its use officers recognised certain technical and operational issues including staff training costs and the inability to use the UAV in all weather conditions.
“These issues in conjunction with the current financial climate resulted in the decision being made by chief officers not to replace the unit.”
October 2011: Merseyside police drone ceases operations
This story is very interesting as it is an example of trying to put to work an idea that in principle seems potentially productive, and then coming in touch with all the hidden problems involved and the technical and, not least, budget limitations. I think the idea was good but the technology was still too young in 2009 to make drone law enforcement become a reality on a limited budget. I would guess that if the very same program was started today, it would probably have more chances of success as there was so much research and development done from 2009 to today in multirotors technological development, navigation systems, better and lighter frames with higher payloads, longer flight times, better resistance to variable weather conditions etc.. We can see this as an early, brave experiment that failed. We’ll probably see other similar program succeed more and more in the future, as technology evolves and equipment prices drop steadily.
If you live in Arizona beware: Sheriff Arpaio may soon be watching you from the sky. If you don’t live in Arizona don’t feel excluded. Somebody else will soon be watching you from the sky anyway. If it’s not happening already.
Marseille Police chief Jen-Paul Bonnetain is pushing the idea of using drone based aerial surveillance to aid law enforcement and police investigations. The idea is strongly supported by socialist politician Eugène Castelli, who is ready to propose investments for millions of euros in the project.
Will Marseille become a test ground for a wider aerial surveillance program in France? Are we entering a science fiction era in which multicopters and personal, or less personal drones will be part of our everyday life?
Found this video that features a long interview to Prof. Alan Frazier on the subject of drone usage in law enforcement, in which he also answers questions from the public.
Prof. Frazier has a very particular curriculum, as he is both a Professor at the North Dakota University, Department of Aviation and Deputy Sheriff in the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department (link). This puts him in a strong position to deeply understand the technical and legal background of quadcopters, multirotors and more in general UAV usage, and to apply this knowledge in the field, as a law enforcement officer. For these reasons it is of particular interest to hear his views on the subject of UAV and law enforcement. Here’s the video:
For some quick examples of how drones were used recently by Prof. Frazier in the field, see this article
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