Delhi Police to use drones for street surveillance

Netra, the light weight UAV fitted with night vision cameras, will be used by Delhi Police to patrol the streets of the national capital.

New Delhi: Netra, the light weight UAV fitted with night vision cameras, will be used by Delhi Police to patrol the streets of the national capital.

The device has already been used by security agencies like BSF, CRPF for counter-insurgency activities while NDRF used it to search for survivors during the Uttarakhand flash floods that took place last year.

The UAV, jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)) and IdeaForge, a Mumbai-based private firm, had also appeared in the Amir Khan-starrer '3 Idiots'.

"We would in all probability use Netra. We have asked its developers to tweak a few things as per our needs," said a senior police official.

"The model currently available is quite costly as it has Kevlar (an armour), which we don't need here in urban landscape. Secondly, wind shear and all weather IBM toughpad are not exactly our requrement... So if these can be dropped and cost comes down, it would suit our needs," he added.

Delhi Police is soon going to use these drones to patrol dark stretches and crime-prone areas. The project will be launched in north district area by next month. Incidentally, the Uber rape case took place in the same area last Friday.

"With this project, North Delhi will become the first district with complete camera surveillance in Delhi. This would be achieved with the combined range of CCTVs and drones. The only areas which will be kept out of it will be the LG House, Delhi Assembly and Metcalfe House," the official said.

Every drone will fly at a height of approximately 200 metres and will cover a hexagonal grid area of three to four kilometres. Technologically it will be ensured that the area covered by two drones does not overlap.

"We can further enhance its capabilities by linking each drone to a Quick Response Teams (QRT). The video can be streamed to the QRT vehicle which will monitor it in real time and respond quickly if it sees something wrong," he said. 

The North district has already conducted dry runs for the project by using drones to monitor immersions of Durga and Ganesha idols at the Yamuna ghats in the area.

"Its suitability has been checked and we have got the sanction for the project from the police headquarters. We are in the process of procuring the hardware and software component. The drones will have night vision and thermal imaging cameras and its video and images can be used as evidence in case of a crime.

"It will also have anti-shaking software which will cancel any tremble in the video caused by the rotating blades of the flying machine and provide us steady picture. It will be capable to operate under all weather conditions. We will deploy three to four drones in the entire district and each one of them will cost around 10 lakh," the police official said.