UAVs Used for Surveillance


UAVs Used for Surveillance

When a mission is regarded as dangerous, dirty, or tedious for humans, UAVs are preferable and deployed for such operations. Unmanned aerial vehicles have different usages, but one of its most useful purposes is monitoring and surveillance. Popularly known as drones, UAVs have become a gadget of importance to law enforcement agencies. Private individuals and actors are also seeking its usage for personal and private purposes. Surveillance drones are of different sizes and capabilities. Many of them can be launched by hands, whereas some are as large as an aircraft. 

Components of UAVs

While some surveillance drones are installed with facial recognition applications, heat sensors, infrared technology, motion detector, live feed cameras, GPS, license plate reader and speakers for listening to conversations. Tiny drones will easily go unnoticed when peering into a window or finding its way into a restricted area without the individuals noticing that someone is spying on them. The remarkable thing about UAVs is that it is very easy for anybody to fly it. In fact, a drone can be remotely controlled or purely automated depending on the objectives of the pilot. 

Usefulness of UAVs

Surveillance UAVs are often equipped with sophisticated imaging gadgets that can provide the flyer detailed photographs of people, terrain, vehicles, homes, and even minuscule objects. They are designed to undertake surveillance project that former methods of monitoring are unable to perform due to their limited capabilities. In supporting missions such as fugitive investigations, kidnappings, drug bust interdictions, search and rescue operations, UAVs have been deployed successfully. Since 2006, the FBI have used UAVs successfully in more than eight operations, two of which bothers on issues of national security. UAVs can be deployed for emergency and disaster management, national weather service tracking and traffic management, and crisis/crowd control management. Flying just one drone for surveillance is like having 20 police officers on patrol. Yes, that’s the fact.

Users of UAVs and Privacy Issue

Due to the virtue of their small size which makes them undetectable both in Urban and in rural areas, UAVs will continue to shape the functionality and efficiency of modern day police duties. UAVs are not just available for law enforcement authorities; it is also a big toy in the hands of companies and private individuals. But its use by entities, apart from government agencies, will undermine the privacy of individuals. Technology companies are developing paparazzi drones to monitor the movements of celebrities and government officials; they also take their pictures without their consent. Private investigation firms have also adopted the use of surveillance drones to monitor and trail their targets, thus waiting for “preys” to fall into their bait. Technology giants such as Google also make use of this surveillance drones to update the street view of the Google Earth and Maps. Elements of the underworld are not left out. The use the UAV gadgets to stalk and monitor their victims. 

Advantages of UAVs

The pros of UAVs for surveillance outnumbers the cons. With UAVs, trafficking, smuggling, robbery, and terrorism can be controlled and monitored closely. Natural phenomenon such as volcanic eruptions, tsunami, earthquakes, iceberg breakage and flooding can be monitored and humans evacuated to avert the loss of lives. Lastly, surveillance can be mounted on poaching, road traffic, and monitoring tree growth. Surveillance UAVs are here to stay, and according to predictions, by 2020 there will be a saturation of drones globally. Then, drones will be our new form of kite.


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  • Alex R
Comments 1
  • Edna

    Informative Article really. To me surveillance drones or unmanned aerial systems (UASs)raise noteworthy issues for protection and common freedoms. Drones now a days capable of highly advanced surveillance, and drones already in use by law enforcement can carry various types of equipment including live-feed video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar. So a big concern for SECURITY.

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