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.”
Using drones for surveillance is a somewhat controversial activity that entails several aspects, including legal ones, that have to be weighted and balanced for the best interest of all the parties involved.
In urban environments the use of drones could be an important tool for law enforcement, although such use requires some careful planning. This kind of use has to take into account, and balance with citizen’s right to privacy.
In other instances, multirotors were used by activists to monitor what they deem as illegal or disgraceful activities, for example on the treatment of animals on private land. Check out this story or this one, for example. Interestingly, both these stories deal with the protection of animals from mistreatment.
On the same line, but in an entirely different environment, a project have started, as a collaboration between Airware, a company that specializes in the construction of UAVs for a variety of applications, and Ol Pejeta Conservacy, a non-profit wildlife conservancy in Kenya supporting endangered species, tourism and community outreach.
In Thomas More College in Belgium an “experiment” was made to employ a little personal drone, a DJI Phantom equipped with a GoPro Camera for the surveillance of students during exams, as shown in the following video:
As reported in this Nikkeibp story, Japanese firm Secom has released an innovative security camera, able to get close to the target and shoot pictures and videos to be used for information and evidence in security investigations. It is actually a medium sized (80cm diameter) quadcopter with an unusual shape that offers way more flexibility and maneuverability than a fixed camera, even with PTZ control. This one will track the target anywhere even in a huge area.
When a non authorized person or vehicle enters the secured area, the quadcopter will get close and gather evidence about the intrusion by taking pictures and video. The drone can take pictures of a car license plate for example.
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?