The Dutch government has ordered the police to increase the chances of catching criminals and to better anticipate the situation when a crime is reported. One way of doing this is to attend the scene of the crime more quickly. This is not always feasible, however, especially in sparsely populated areas with a thinly spread police force. One of our Safety & Security projects is to further develop a semi-autonomous security drone which is stationed on a loading and landing platform in the area to be monitored. When triggered by an intrusion sensor, the drone flies – without human intervention – to the relevant coordinates and transmits images and other information to the control room.
Various security-related issues still have to be solved. In the Netherlands, entrepreneurs suffer billions of euros’ worth of damage as the result of crime every year. The number of ram-raids is on the rise and criminals are using increasingly heavyweight tactics to get their hands on the loot, before fleeing the scene of their crime at high speed in a stolen vehicle. Cases of copper theft cause havoc on railway networks, inconveniencing numerous travellers and businesses, and hazardous chemical waste from illegal drugs labs is dumped in countless remote areas.
Numerous people and organizations stand to benefit from a solution, including the police, security firms, commuters, local residents, individual companies and business park/industrial estate associations.
The deployment of a semi-autonomous drone for Safety & Security applications offers a solution for the following security-related issues:
- Alarm response with significantly reduced verification time. Direct information about an alert.
- Pre-programmed autonomous surveillance, including in remote/hard-to-reach areas.
- Rapid detection of hazardous substances.
- Rapid detection of intruders or people in difficulty.
- Rapid access to images to aid coordination of the deployment of police and emergency services.
- Rapid provision of rescue aids such as an AED device or life jacket.
Autonomous or semi-autonomous flying is one of the goals on the European agenda (SESAR project). Since it is not legally allowed at this moment in time, however, an exemption is necessary based on a unique safety plan. As one of the ‘launching customers’ of Space53, the Municipality of Enschede is working to designate ‘experimental zones’ to enable a more flexible approach to the current drone legislation. One of those zones is the De Marssteden business park. The Municipality of Enschede, Veiligheidsregio Twente, the fire service, the University of Twente, the De Marssteden business park and a security firm are currently involved in discussions to explore various possibilities for a real-life pilot project based on the use of drones as security cameras.