In the light of growing crime in Delhi, the city’s police has decided to use drones outfitted with night-vision cameras to setup a vigil in North Delhi, incidentally the area where the Uber rape case took place.
The equipment of choice is the Netra UAV which was jointly developed by the DRDO and Mumbai-based private firm IdeaForge (yes, the one which featured in Amir Khan’s 3-Idiots). Netra is already being used by the BSF, CRPF and NDRF, however the Delhi police have asked its developers to tweak a few aspects as per their requirements.
In order to bring down the costs, the Kevlar body armour that currently protects the Netra will been given the boot, as it isn’t required in an urban landscape. Further, the rugged IBM toughpads that ship with the drone aren’t necessary, as the Delhi Police plans to link each drone to a Quick Response Team (QRT).
The Netra will soon be deployed in the crime-prone area of North Delhi, flying at an approximate height of 200-meters and surveying a hexagonal grid of roughly 3-4 square kilometers. The Delhi Police said the drones will be up and running sometime in January, but there hasn’t been any official announcement just yet.
The city police claims the North Delhi district will be the first area in the city to be under complete camera surveillance, using a range of CCTVs and drones.This will undoubtedly raise quite a few questions about privacy and safety of operating drones in urban spaces.
Drones and Indian Regulations: Up in the air?
Laws state that drones in India are not allowed to fly above an altitude of 400-feet. However, the proposed height for flying drones in Delhi is closer to 650-feet, which will require a change in regulations. Further, given the unplanned and irregular building structures in most Indian cities, and not to mention overhead power lines, there are still a few niggles that need to be bashed out.