Citywide drone boxes for Dubai Police

While some countries still squint suspiciously at drone technology and choose to tread carefully when it comes to integrating unmanned aerial vehicles in their airspaces, police in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai seem to have drunk the Kool Aid and are going ahead with plans to launch a citywide drone-in-a-box response system.

Dubai police will be able to respond to an incident anywhere in the United Arab Emirates city within a minute, thanks to a network of pre-positioned drone bases.

Not that we are surprised. This is Dubai after all. It is the Burji Khalifa, it is shopping malls punctuated by humongous shopping malls; and it is a whole mood of cultural sites to treat a sore eye. Dubai city dripping with cutting edge technology; so what are a few drones added at several strategic points to boost security?

Except that they will not be few; the drones will be dotted at several bases around the city, with orders to respond in record time to any security situation requiring police services in their area of jurisdiction.

The imminent launch was revealed by the city’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“During my visit to the Dubai Police Headquarters, we launched Drone Box, a platform to dispatch drones across Dubai to reduce response time to criminal and traffic reports from 4.4 minutes to 1 minute,” the sheikh tweeted. “The service will officially launch during Expo 2020 Dubai.”

The Expo 2020 Dubai is the World Cup and Olympics of exhibition shows (with attendances that are said to be bettered by only these two world showcases), where almost every country in the world has a pavilion where it displays its potential and opportunities, which this year will be in the sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and sustainability, to support the main theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’

Supplied by Israeli company Airobotics, the quadcopters will be housed in drone bases (boxes, or nests); with each base having a sliding roof that allows the drones to enter and exit. The drones can fly pre-programmed patrols, or be dispatched to a specific location, allowing an operator at police headquarters to inspect the scene, or follow a suspicious individual or vehicle and pass data to other police units.

According to a report from the New Scientist, the drones will stand at a width of 1.8 metres, which is larger than normal consumer drones. The base station relays communications and incorporates a robot arm to swap out the drone’s batteries, allowing it to land and take off immediately with no delay for recharging.

Already popular for various security operations in many countries, Airobotics have however, never been deployed on this large a scale before

“The goal is definitely to model for other police forces globally, so they can see how this is the shortest and most efficient way to deal with emergencies,” says an Airobotics spokesperson.


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