New Delhi: In a first of its kind project in the country, mini drones fitted with night vision cameras will be used to patrol the streets of the national capital by the Delhi Police in order to make the city safer for women.
As the rape of a 27-year-old finance company executive by an Uber cab driver brought the spotlight back on women security in the city, the force has decided to patrol dark stretches and crime prone areas with the help of drones which will be fitted with night vision thermal imaging cameras.
The project will be launched in north district area by next month. Incidentally, the Uber rape case took place in the same area this 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 with CCTVs and drones. The only areas which will be kept out of it will be the LG House, Delhi Assembly and Metcalfe House," said a senior police official.
Every drone will fly at a height of approximately 200 metres and will cover a hexagonal grid area of three to four kilometers. 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 made the 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," he said.
So far, Delhi Police had used drones after taking it on rent from DRDO at around Rs 50,000 per day. Using drones for patrolling will be of huge help for the police as it will not have to manually patrol the entire district which is hampered due to manpower crunch.
"If we deploy a drone at all the entry routes of the district, we will be able to keep a tab of every vehicle entering the area. Once it's successful in north Delhi, it can be implemented in other areas as well," he said.