Why Automated Drone Patrols are Key for Security Operations?

In recent days, unprecedented situations made technologies be used for a variety of purposes.  Drones are one such example that gained popularity among law enforcement and security agencies.

According to a report “more than half of police forces and two-thirds of fire services in the UK started using drones” for their regular operations.

These agencies use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to prevent security breaches and catch trespassers by implementing a 24×7 automated drone patrol system in the vicinity without risking human lives.

Apart from security agencies, Drone patrolling is also used for various other cases to save human lives as well as animals. One such example is Lifeguards in Australia use Drone patrol at beaches to spot sharks and tracking them to reduce the risks of swimmer and surfers.

In this blog, we talk about the role of drones in automated patrols for security operations and how FlytNow is being used for deploying autonomous drone patrols.

Before getting deeper let’s discuss why drones are the best choice for automated security patrol.

What do the drones do better in security operations?

  1. Implementing a fleet of drones for security patrol will cover a larger area in less amount of time also helps to better shield the sites.
  2. Allows the security officials to fly over hard-to-reach or dangerous areas and provide more accurate information without compromising the team’s safety.
  3. Faster response time compared to manned patrols, during a security breach the drones can reach the hotspot 5 times faster than the security officials.
  4. With the appropriate pieces of equipment, automated patrol missions can be carried out with a minimum amount of human interventions by scheduling autonomous patrol missions.
  5. Drones equipped with thermal and optical sensors will further increase the efficiency of security patrol/detecting intruders.

See how U.S Border patrol agents located trespassers who entered the country illegally within 45 minutes using Drones. Also according to the reports, U.S Border patrol flew for a total of around 176 flight hours between October 2018 and April 2019 preventing 474 illegal entries at the border.

In a nutshell, security operations that involve automated drone patrols reduce the risk and significantly increase the patrol efficiency at the same time.

Things to consider before buying a drone for security operations/patrol program

With the increase in the use cases of drones, Day by day more and more organizations have started to learn what it can mean to use a drone to complete a given task in a faster, safer, or cheaper way.

Thus, before commencing a drone patrol program or any drone program one should know what problem they are trying to solve. So let’s discuss some important logical steps that you can take before launching a drone program:

  1. Before you rush out and buy a drone, the first thing you can do is talk to your command staff and others about what benefit could drone add to the program or department
  2. If you are in the US, you should pass an FAA Part 107 exam, this will provide you with awareness about the rules and regulations for flying a drone and also offers you an FAA certificate as a commercial UAS pilot.
  3. After understanding the program expectations, match those against the legal laws then you can better understand what a drone can deliver.
  4. Once you have identified the limitations of drones, you should figure out why drones fall from the sky and crashing every day. You can read the accident reports from Report Drone Accident. Understanding the risks is a sign of a good pilot.

In starting a successful drone program, there is nothing to do with the drone, payload, video streaming, or cameras, the challenging part is the process and where it meets reality. Thus don’t be in a rush to spend on a solution that will result in unachieved expectations and disillusionment.

What kind of drones are used for Automated patrol operations?

As mentioned above first you need to make sure about what you and your team want to do with the Drone. Below are some major things that you need to consider before buying a drone:

Size – If you are planning to operate in windy situations buying smaller drones will make it difficult to handle crosswinds. Thus choose the size of your drone based on the working environment.

Flight time – It is the major concern when you are using the drone for longer missions. Typically nowadays flight time for most drones is around 30 minutes.

Recharge time – Since you are planning to use the drones for automated patrol operations Battery recharge time should also be considered.

Automated Flight capabilities – Drones provided with an auto-return to home, Failsafe, and collision avoidance features will make the autonomous operations more safe and secure particularly during BVLOS.

Payloads – Without proper payloads drones are not usable. For security operations payloads such as speakers, spotlight, thermal cameras (Zenmuse XT2), and cameras with optical zoom (Zenmuse Z30) are widely used.

In general, security operations require a larger fleet of drones available at the ready. Thus it is recommended to add your fleet with Mavic 2 series and Parrot Anafi particularly the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and Anafi USA which comes with thermal capabilities.

If your operation requires you to fly in tactical or demanding environments, then the DJI Matrice series or any other custom drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot is going to be a good choice.

Finally, Don’t forget to add training drones such as Mavic Air and Mavic mini to your fleet. These drones come in hand while learning how to pilot an aircraft. Also using dedicated training drones for testing new tactics and procedures will greatly reduce the risk of damage to operational assets.

What are the problems with Drones?

Currently, drones can operate autonomously but a certain level of human supervision is required. To make the drone operate fully autonomous, it has to satisfy air/road traffic and safety standards, local laws, and regulations.

Normally, the biggest concern is safety. Generally talking, Drones are not ready to:

  • Operate in complex situations
  • Perform precise landing
  • Autonomously navigate indoors

The only way to overcome these challenges is by developing highly reliable software and hardware solutions.

How to execute autonomous drone patrol using the FlytNow platform?

FlytNow is a drone agnostic cloud platform that enables users to integrate and manage a wide range of drones from DJI, Parrot to Custom drones based on PX4 and Ardupilot with a unified dashboard. Since drones are connected to FlyNow via 4G/5G networks, remote BVLOS operations can be executed with ease.

Once the drone is connected to the FlytNow dashboard, HD video streaming and live telemetry (with ultra-low latency) will be available on the web dashboard for all the connected drones.

Using Mission scheduler, users can plan and schedule automated patrol missions that can be executed daily or at specific time intervals.

In terms of automation, FlytNow offers features such as Precision Landing and Diab integration. Where users can remotely control the opening/closing of the Box. This enables Drones to land precisely on docking/charging stations and start executing further patrol flights autonomously.

Final Words

In this blog, we discussed the role of automated drone patrols in security operations and the problems they help solve. We also discussed the variety of drones and payloads used for security operations. Finally, we ended by showcasing how automated drone patrols can be executed with the help of the FlytNow platform.

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