There’s no doubt – when it comes to public-security drone deployment across Asia, India is well ahead of the competition. Want proof? Let’s travel to Noida.
An acronym for New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, the government-planned city recently received two new UAVs from the nearby Lucknow police department to survey congested streets and help unsnarl traffic problems. The drones can patrol a 1.24 mile (2 km) radius and stay aloft up to 164 feet.
“A two-kilometer radius is good enough and we can get a better and clearer picture of roads. This will help us in sending immediate ground reports and responding quickly,” police superintendent Sanjay Singh told the Hindustan Times. “If we know [via drone patrol] the traffic is getting choked on the expressway, we can send a team of additional traffic constables there immediately,” he said. Singh added that the drones program, which will be used daily, costs about $22,000 (USD).
In Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), police used a drone to patrol polling places during recent, hotly contested elections. In 2015, violent uprisings emerged at various polling stations across the city.
“The drone was used to mainly monitor trouble-prone places,” said Kolkata City Commissioner Somen Mitra. “Localities are such that physical intervention is time-consuming and risky there, given that narrow lanes and bylanes that almost pass through people’s homes, making it impossible for the force to charge in during an emergency,” he said.
“We used drones that could take aerial images, helping us identify the troubled zones,” a senior police officer told the Times of India. Images were then monitored by on-the-ground police officers to target suspected troublemakers.
The deployment is one of a growing number of police-drone projects across India.
In January, Delhi Police piloted a squadron of drones to monitor temples and expressways through Republic Day (Jan. 26), the nation’s annual commemoration of the enactment of its constitution.
The police forced ordered Netra quadcopters from India’s defense ministry to secure the various sites. Incidentally, the Netra is homegrown — manufactured in partnership with Indian drone firm ideaForge.