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Using Drones for Surveillance

You may have read in the news about Malaysia receiving 12 maritime surveillance drones from the USA, and Indonesia designing and building their own military drone. While Indonesia’s drone can partake in combat operations unlike the ones Malaysia are receiving, one thing that both have in common is that they can perform surveillance.

Are drones better than other surveillance tools? If so, why?

Drones, being able to move around, can cover angles that stationary CCTV cameras might miss. Drones also make it easier to follow a target of interest, and the target will have a harder time escaping the flying camera’s field of view compared to a fixed one.

Another way to perform surveillance is with manned aircraft such as airplanes and helicopters. These are much bigger and heavier, and require more fuel and manpower to operate and maintain. Both of these lead to much higher operating costs than drones. Manned aircraft are also much easier to spot; in addition to being bigger, they also produce much more noise. This also brings up the issue of safety; intruders such as poachers or terrorists may even target the surveillance craft if they feel threatened, putting the crew onboard at risk. Drones do not suffer from these issues, making them a better choice for aerial surveillance.

Also, much like CCTV cameras and manned aircraft, drones can also be equipped with special cameras, such as thermal imaging cameras, if required, to spot individuals more easily.

Where can drones be used for surveillance?

Surveillance drones are naturally suited for applications covering vast areas such as border patrolling operations, maritime surveillance, and monitoring nature reserves. Drones can also be used in place of CCTV cameras for temporary surveillance operations. For example, surveillance drones can be used to monitor large events such as concerts, festivals or protests, as well as crime scenes, accidents or areas affected by natural disasters so that emergency personnel can keep tabs on the current situation.

If you would like to get started with using drones in your organisation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We can help you with setting up an internal drone team to make use of this technology.


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