Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are aircrafts without human pilots on board. They can be preprogrammed or piloted remotely. Their use spans from surveillance to search and rescue to firefighting to recreation. Before you purchase a drone, there are a few things you need to know.
Drones are made in three grades: Consumer Grade, Prosumer Grade, and Commercial Grade.
Consumer Grade Drones
These are best for beginners, as you can get a quad copter, possibly with a camera and micro SD card, for under $300. These are smaller than average, with a range of about 100 ft plus 10 minute flying time. These are great for practice and, until you have really mastered flying it, you can expect to crash more than once. You will find that you must do extra work for tasks that could be automated.
These drones are in the $300-$1,500 price range, and you can tell the difference. With these, you will find longer lasting batteries, farther range, computer automation to stabilize them in the air, built-in HD cameras with increased storage space, plus improved controllers. The controllers may have built-in video or have the ability to sync with your devices.
Drones with GPS fall within this grade and can offer excellent and practical benefits. If you adventurous or active, you may want to record your excursions. These drones can follow you when you partake in things like water skiing or snowboarding. They can even sense a low battery and will automatically bring the drone back down for a safe landing. Another added bonus: these drones will prevent you from flying within 5 miles of an airport, thus keeping you out of trouble for the most part.
These are the truly specialized kind of drones. For example, these are the ones that will herd sheep, deliver your pizza, or even guide a lost student around campus. You may have seen them, or viewed an exceptional aerial view when watching your favorite football team. Commercial drones are gaining popularity in Hollywood as well. While they are used for filming, the paparazzi have also used them in an attempt to get exclusive shots of the stars.
You will want to invest in accessories to keep your drone safe. If your drone doesn’t come with a case, you can find cases on the market that are great for travelling (think backpack or suitcase types) and even cases with molded foam for increased protection. Extra batteries and extra blades are good to have on hand just in case.
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is now requiring drones to be registered (thanks to some people who flew them where they shouldn’t have). Luckily, a $5 fee is good for 3 years, and covers all your drones, if you have more than one.
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We all know how innovative apps can be these days, but did you ever think your phone could immediately help you in an emergency? Not only does the LifeLine Response app allow your phone to become a panic button, but at the release of your thumb from the button, police are notified and dispatched while a drone speeds to your rescue.
The LifeLine Response app, created by Peter Cahill, was inspired by an attempted abduction on Cahill’s nieces. The app, available for iPhones and Androids (availability for Windows phones coming soon), costs $9.99 yearly, but can provide safety for many. LifeLine Response likens the app “as a home alarm system you can take with you everywhere you go.”
Once the app is installed on your phone, you can open it when you feel concerned about your safety. The press of a button connects you to controllers, and you can express your concern. As soon as pressure is released from the button, law enforcement and a drone will be sent to your GPS location. The drone travels 60 mph and can stay with you until authorities arrive, or it can follow the suspect, all the while recording the incident. Besides its recording abilities and speed, the drone is meant to scare off a potential attacker to provide safety for the individual.
Cahill ensures that efforts have been made so that their drones comply with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The drones would be stored at appropriate law enforcement headquarters, enabling quick response to potential crime scenes. It has been reported that about 30 college, corporate, and hospital campuses have elected to be of the first to use this technology, though names have not been disclosed.
While this endeavor seems promising, do you think the masses will accept this type of emergency system? As drones gain in popularity and their applications expand, do you believe this app, in particular, will shine a good light on drone use? Join our discussion on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest!
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Utilizing a surveillance system demonstrates the ability to aid in suspect identification to help solve crimes. Technological advances have expanded these systems to overhead monitoring via aircrafts, similar to drones. Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS) has created a manned aircraft equipped with several cameras to record ground activity over a 25 sq mile (64.7 sq km) area.
The PSS aircraft is houses 12 high-resolution cameras which work together to create one wide range view to be transmitted to analysts below. Persons in question are able to be tracked, but cannot be clearly identified from these cameras.
Instead, tracking a person’s movement is the goal. These aircrafts were tested in different areas. For nine days in early 2012, the PSS aircraft was used in Compton, CA. During this time, the PSS surveillance footage captured various crimes. The suspect’s movement before and after the occurrence were recorded. Access to this information, in conjunction with firsthand testimony, helps to create accurate timelines.
This information can offer some insight on details of the crime, possible accomplices, whether it was premeditated or not, and more. By having an aerial view and being able to accurately track persons, we can more quickly and effectively locate those evading police. We can save time, money, and manpower as the PSS aircraft can do the work in the sky. These surveillance aircrafts could be vital in capturing and punishing suspects, thus restoring the safety and security of our neighborhoods.
Do you think your local police department should adopt this type of technology to help prevent crimes? Please share your thoughts with us on our social media sites. You can find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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We hope everyone enjoyed a fun-filled and safe Fourth of July. Did you catch a public display or legally and safely light your own? Fireworks are a spectacular sight, especially against the backdrop of a dark night sky. Even more breathtaking is the up-close view that drones can achieve. A YouTube search can produce various drone footage of fireworks, but how safe is this practice? Is it time we enforce stricter guidelines on these privately owned devices?
Fireworks safety is a major issue, particularly around this time of year. Adding drones to the mix only heightens the danger. Drones can easily be purchased by inexperienced controllers who may not know how low or high to fly. When capturing footage of fireworks, flying too closely to the display can cause an avoidable accident which may lead to unnecessary injuries. Whether it’s an accidental collision in the air or simply a malfunction of some sort, there are many ways privately owned drones can come crashing down causing more problems below.
While these safety issues arise, use of drones around this time can also be helpful. A recent article stated that a drone caught footage of numerous private fireworks displays in areas where fireworks are prohibited. If the police were to employ drones during this time, with professional controllers, they could potentially catch users of illegal fireworks. This could help decrease fireworks accidents and increase safety among the public.
Share your thoughts on the topic. Are you impressed by the fireworks footage captured by the drones? Do you think better regulations are necessary for drone ownership and usage? Engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.
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Unmanned aerial systems, more commonly referred to as drones, have been a buzz lately. Drones act as aerial surveillance cameras and are typically associated with military use. Lately, the use of drones for other endeavors is on the rise. At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, drones were used as a security measure, but were also employed to capture a different view of events. The use of drones in sports is of interest and can be beneficial during practices and games. For example, UCLA is currently implementing the use of drones during football practice.
In sports like football, being able to see your players from overhead allows coaches a new view on their game plan. An aerial view allows coaches to correct spacing and placement, providing improved player and team performance. During actual sports games, having video footage from drones versus cable cameras can heighten the experience for fans and spectators. Since drones provide better maneuverability, their video footage can supply new viewing angles and may help determine whether or not a referee’s call was bad or justified.
While teams and coaches see the benefits of using drones, there are concerns about safety, privacy and ethical use. Safety issues include how high, low or far the drones can travel, as well as possible malfunctions that may occur. There is also a level of vulnerability to those in surrounding areas where the drone is being used. Also, sports teams may worry about other teams spying on practices. Recently, a drone was spotted flying above France’s training camp in Brazil for the World Cup 2014, raising concerns about spying. The issue is under investigation. In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration oversees the use of unmanned aircraft systems, however, specific rules and regulations are still in the works.
Cable camera systems are currently in use for football games, but are obviously limited in comparison to the drone’s versatility. These cable camera systems are also not ideal for all sports. For instance, using these cameras for golf tournaments is simply not practical. In regards to costs, drones can be much more affordable than cable camera systems. Once regulations and safety issues for drones are resolved, future use of drones in sports seems promising.
To our sports fanatics or security camera enthusiasts, what are your thoughts? Are you for or against their use in sports? Let us know what you think – tweet us @SecurityCamXprt, post on our Facebook wall, or share with us on Google+. You can even connect with us on Pinterest.
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