Drones to help control traffic, check crime

Volunteers operate a drone camera at the launch of Drone applications for Agriculture activities at GKVK in Bengaluru on Thursday. DH Photo/Janardhan B K

Motorists jumping traffic signals at unmanned junctions and those committing crimes cannot go scot-free now as the police are planning to deploy eyes in the sky.

The state government has launched a drone project for crowd management and to monitor traffic violations in real-time. The move is an extension of the drone-based property survey that was launched recently.

City police commissioner T Suneel Kumar said they wanted to use drones for crowd control, major security arrangements, important public functions. “In future, it will also be used to manage traffic and book violators. It will be easier to monitor signal-jumping, speeding and wheelies,” he said.

He said the police department will write to the IT/BT department listing the areas for drone monitoring and the number of drones required. A three-month pilot project will be conducted to study the efficacy of drones.

Minister for IT, BT and Small, Large and Medium Scale Industries K J George launched the pilot project in three areas at an event organised at the University of Agriculture Sciences on Thursday.

The government is keen to promote the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems technology and will shortly announce a policy for their use in agriculture, urban development and police operations, he said.

The drones, equipped with cameras, will be used in real-time crowd monitoring and surveillance. They will be deployed in selected areas for traffic surveillance, which will be extended to other parts of the city after assessing the results of the pilot project.

Officials said the drones will have night vision capability. The state government has roped in Delhi-based firm Omnipresent Robot Tech to deploy drones on a pilot basis.

The company will also install ground-based control points to collect data. The government has granted Rs 2.5 crore for implementing the pilot project.

In 2016, the police department had purchased 12 drones and about 20 policemen have been trained to operate them. The district police had used the drones earlier to curb sand-mining in their districts.

The city police had used drones during the new-year celebrations of 2015 following the Church Street bomb blast. Police believe that drones could play a major role in monitoring crowds as violence had broken out during protests over the Cauvery issue and during strikes by garment workers and farmers.

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