The Azerbaijan Armenia war was won by drones…simple as that. Who would have ever thought even a decade back that a violent dispute between two nations would be settled by use of drones.
Drones have been around for years now. In fact, a drone was a common term for any unmanned aerial vehicle primarily used in militaries around the world.
In today’s age, drones are found in almost all modern industries especially those involved in security, surveillance and monitoring fields. Considering they are remotely operated flying machines, they have always been used traditionally by armed forces primarily due to prohibitively expensive procurement issues, design requirements as well as maintenance. Availability of technology to common masses was another roadblock. Compared to those yesteryears, Amazon.com now lists a drone as a plaything for children at a basic price of $20. Free one day delivery for ‘Prime’ users being an added benefit.
Drones have been used by armed forces around the world primarily for surveillance and reconnaissance ance of battle areas and enemy disposition. Their small size, low aerial signature, higher safety for its own personnel and comparative cheaper duty cycle make it one of the most sought after technology the world over. It’s of course a concern in the aviation industry that manned commercial flights would soon be a thing of the past.
The best advantage of a drone in a security surveillance scenario relevant to us would be its ability to have a mobile, easily manageable, ‘LIVE’, Bird’s eye view of its surroundings; something that a static guard would never be able to replicate.
There are primarily four main sub divisions that we can discuss the benefits of drones:-
(a) Beyond line of sight — Drones ensures there are no blind-spots & can reach inaccessible and inhospitable terrain. A resource on ground, no matter how vigilant he is , cannot look beyond the LoS. Not only capturing the inaccessible area but it also ensures clear and better pictures/videos with 4k technology. High-quality drone cameras capture minute details often overlooked by traditional systems.
(b) Faster Turnaround time — Drones reduce operational costs in the long run and reduce manual workload. They also help in reducing risk & improving the efficiency of security personnel.
(c) Increased RoI — Drones can be remotely dispatched on command to a specified GPS coordinate to assess a situation pre-emptively and relay critical info in real time.
(d) Enhanced situational awareness — A Human at end user point is limited by his reach, agility, acumen and various other factors, unique to each individual. Compare this with a drone which can have a superfluous presence in combination with other drones in the area and give a better perspective to the man with his finger on the trigger (on a relative term)
Unlike the military, where the money flows one way with no discernible output other than a deterrent and it being an offensive force used in times of conflict, the corporate cannot operate without thinking of its iterating costs and returns for monies invested. Considering all these facts, it must be understood that although the initial setup and procurement cost of a drone would be higher compared to physical deployment of personnel across the setup, in the long run, a drone would work out much cheaper, effective and most importantly, efficient. It is the natural progression and the way forward in the technological world. The faster we assimilate ourselves to the future, higher are our chance at success.
Drones are the way forward. Although autonomous drones are still not as good as a T-800 from the Terminator movie series, the days are not very far. The earlier we adapt to the technology, the earlier we will be able to provide seamless and integrated solutions to our end users. In the end, I would like to quote a very interesting line I read while drafting this article by Vice President of Global Security James McDonald “A drone is not going to be asleep at two o’clock in the morning over a long holiday weekend !”. The connotation of this one line are self explanatory.
To conclude, drone systems are not a need of the future but rather a technology available abundantly in the market. What has limited it’s usage is maybe it’s prohibitive introduction cost, traditional doubts over new technology and primarily lack of knowledge and awareness. With the introduction of the latest DGCA rules which not only promote drone usage but in addition, outlay a visionary programme a future for domestic manufacturing as well, drone usage is only going to increase in leaps and bounds. It’s usage in security scenario is there to stay. What is needed to look forward in the future are the various applications it can be used for which have not been thought of as of yet.