Since last year drones frequently make the news. In December of last year, a passenger jet approaching London Heathrow airport almost collided with a drone, with potentially catastrophic effects. This was one of the many incidents around airports. This year, on January 27th a drone evaded White House radar and landed on the White House grounds. An off-duty employee for a government intelligence agency flew his friend’s drone, a 2-foot-by-2-foot quadcopter. He operated it from an apartment just a few blocks from the White House and then lost control of the drone, caused by the wind, trees or his state of mind.
The technological developments over the last 10 years have made these drones more reliable with increased capabilities. This has led to increased popularity, leading to higher demand allowing for lower price levels. The boom in their popularity has not only created a large group of amateur enthusiasts but has also made corporations eager to use it for business. As in many instances the military has lead the way in pushing further technological developments so drones could be used for recognizance and attacks for wars in the Middle East. Many of these enhancements can now be found in the drones available for commercial use.
When drones hit the news, the stories evolve mostly around them circumventing security or creating dangerous situations. However there is an increase in use of drones to do the opposite: creation of a more secure environment. Drones can be equipped by high-resolution cameras and used to inspect pipelines or a large plant perimeter for example. When drones are considered for a security program, it is important to understand the possibilities and limitations. When it comes to patrolling a perimeter, a comparison should be made between use of drones, video guard tour using a properly designed CCTV system and guard patrols done on foot or by vehicle. Potentially a hybrid solution will give the optimum security coverage, but as always it starts with an extensive security audit to determine the vulnerabilities and risks. With the results of an audit, a security program can be developed and drones may be playing a larger part in the future.