In this day and age, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) are being used by a cross section of people. From the likes of the military for drone strike operations and by normal people producing video content or flying them for leisure, drones are now ubiquitous. One other important application of drones is law enforcement. Police forces in countries around the world are already deploying or testing drones out in the field for the purposes of law enforcement.
The application spectrum is quite wide, making drones very flexible in terms of its usage. So in this post we take a look at three drones that are already being used in law enforcement. However, law enforcement agencies are not necessarily very forthcoming when it comes to disclosing their drone technology, but we did our best to get as much information as we could on the three models. Find out more below:
1. Japan’s Drone-Catching UAVs
Another country in Asia whose police force is deploying UAVs is Japan. The police department in Tokyo have purchased a drone capable of taking down other drones. Since this is Japan, a country known for having law enforcement without guns, the drones are not equipped with guns either.
Rather than taking such a lethal approach to law enforcement, the drones will use nets instead to ensnare other drones that suspiciously approach government buildings and important sites. These drones are much larger than the average UAV and deploy a very large net (6.5’x10’) to trap other flying objects in its track.
Tokyo law enforcement is taking these measures because a little while ago, a drone was spotted above Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s residence carrying radioactive material. Fortunately, the material was not harmful and no one was hurt. While these drones may not be for handling large crowds, they are effective at dealing with the unique problem of other drones snooping around government facilities.
2. Desert Wolf Skunk Riot Control Copter
According to The Times of India, police forces in Lucknow, a city in the north of India, purchased drones in 2014 and have been using them to conduct surveillance. Now, they have bought some new ones that are equipped with pepper sprays and paintball guns for crowd control in those more dire situations where civilian behavior gets out of hand.
The drone, manufactured by South African company Desert Wolf, is controlled remotely from the control center and it able to fly 600 m high for those aerial shots. It is able to hover over a crowd in unrest and discharge pepper balls and fire paintballs at a high rate (80 per second and 20 per second, respectively) for riot control.
The UAV used by the Lucknow police force is called the Skunk Riot Control Copter. It is fitted with onboard speakers to talk to people in a crowd, as well as strobe lights and lasers to disorient crazed individuals.
3. Zimbabwe’s Anti-Poaching Drones
In Africa, authorities are turning to drones in the fight against the poaching of wildlife. The government in Zimbabwe plans to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles over its biggest wildlife sanctuary as it combats poaching. For the southern African country, and many other countries on the continent, wildlife tourism is one of the biggest contributors to their economies.
Zimbabwe’s use of drones comes after successful trials in wildlife sanctuaries in neighbouring South Africa. In fact Zimbabwe’s anti-poaching UAVs will be deployed by the South African-based drone operator Otto Werdmuller Von Elgg. The company is the one behind the test in S.A. and will now take its expertise to help save Zimbabwe’s wildlife.
The anti-poaching drones being used in the trials are regular off-the-shelf UAVs but the technology offers huge benefits to wildlife conservationists. Their aerial views allow the authorities to keep tags on high-risk animals such as Rhino and Elephant while also helping to detect and track poachers.
Off the Shelf Drones
So far the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in Zimbabwe has procured two drones to use in the patrols. It is also encouraging that the authorities have taken the steps to use a normal uav for sale off the shelf to help with their plans.
As with many other sectors, drones are once again proving to be extremely beneficial to anti-poaching efforts. The issue has even made drone news in various news outlets in the region and beyond. The response from the public has been generally positive towards the plans, and with good reason.
Illegal hunters have killed dozens of animals in the region, some of them on endangered lists, as they go after the animals prized ivory.
There is a high demand for ivory particularly in the east and this is what fuels most poaching in Africa. The substance is coveted for its ornamental qualities as well as dubious aphrodisiac claims. With tourism being affected by poaching, authorities are now turning to UAVs as a way of combating the unsanctioned hunting.
The unmanned aerial vehicles should be of great benefit to the anti-poaching efforts and UAV Systems wishes them well.
These are just three examples of UAVs used by law enforcement. Besides Japan and India, police forces in North America and Europe have also deployed drones for surveillance and riot control. At the rate it is going, we will see more and more police robots in the force. Stay tuned for more information of law enforcement UAVs.
Know of any other drones being used in law enforcement? – Share your thoughts with fellow UAV enthusiasts in the comments section below!