Drone technology has emerged as a game-changer for police forces, revolutionising their capabilities in surveillance, information gathering, and emergency response. Recently, there has been a significant push towards integrating drones into police operations, in order to gain more information about live incidents and provide further details to officers as they arrive at the scene.

In this blog, we delve into the benefits of drone technology, with a particular focus on live video streaming and information sharing, and how it is reshaping the operations of many forces.

Advantages of drones

One of the most significant advantages of drones is their ability to provide a bird’s-eye view of unfolding situations quickly and cost-effectively. Equipped with high-resolution cameras, drones allow officers on the ground to assess the severity of incidents and allocate resources accordingly. The added ability to live stream beyond the drone pilot to other officers and control rooms, significantly enhances police force’s ability to make informed decisions swiftly, leading to more collaborative responses and enhanced public safety.

Communication challenges

 Not having access to reliable connectivity poses significant obstacles for drone operators, affecting their ability to transmit data effectively. Police drone operations are often spontaneous and may occur in areas where terrestrial coverage might be poor or not exist. This presents challenges for drone operators, as they rely heavily on reliable connectivity for real-time video streaming from the drone. In emergency situations, drones need to be deployed quickly to provide aerial support, but the lack of terrestrial coverage can hinder communication and data transmission.

Deploying drones in places like stadiums presents challenges similar to those encountered in areas with poor coverage. Networks in these crowded environments may become overloaded or susceptible to cyber-attacks, compromising communication and control of the drones. Reliable and secure internet access is crucial for ensuring the success, safety, and security of drone operations in these environments.

Advanced technologies powering seamless connectivity and situational awareness

Reliable connectivity is crucial for ensuring the success and safety of police drone operations, especially in remote or unpredictable environments. Forward-thinking agencies like South Wales Police and Police Scotland have integrated additional technologies to overcome these challenges including the Excell 4G LTE optimisation antenna, UAV Streamer and Exstream Video Application; all of which have are instrumental in bridging communication gaps and sharing situational awareness.

Optimised cellular performance

The Excell 4G LTE Optimisation Antenna is a cutting-edge solution designed to optimise cellular reception and provide reliable connectivity in challenging environments.

What sets Excell apart from other antennas is that it utilises both directional and omni-directional antennas. This combination offers the benefits of long-range communication and higher gain with optimised performance and enhanced reliability.

Excell can establish a connection with network antennas up to 60 km away, making it an ideal solution for drone teams needing a reliable connection when operating in areas where terrestrial networks would ordinarily not be available.

drones for police

Satellite technology: Seamless connectivity anywhere

While cellular technologies play a crucial role in providing on-the-go connectivity, there are instances when terrestrial networks may fall short. This is where satellite communications step in as a reliable and effective solution, ensuring seamless connectivity regardless of the geographical challenges. Satellite technology is advancing rapidly and becoming more widely accessible, with the introduction of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations and new lightweight hardware options.

Satellites bridge the gap in areas with inadequate terrestrial network coverage, such as remote regions or urban centres prone to network congestion. This reliability is particularly critical for drone teams operating in unpredictable environments where cellular networks may be unreliable or inaccessible. By leveraging satellite communication, drone teams can maintain constant connectivity, enabling them to live-stream aerial footage efficiently.

Putting more eyes on the scene

As drones play a more prominent role in policing, Excelerate’s UAV Streamer is becoming a vital tool for police drone teams. This innovative system provides drone pilots with a secure and reliable way to share live aerial footage. With its easy “plug and play” setup, officers can quickly deploy the UAV Streamer, reducing operational delays. The intuitive touchscreen interface makes it simple for users to adjust streaming resolution and frame rates to suit their organisational needs.

The UAV Streamer utilises the ExStream Video Application to transmit footage securely over both public and private networks. It allows for the footage from the drones to be streamed live and securely to any number of cooperating officers on their mobile devices or to any authorised location such as a CCTV Van, Command Unit or Control Room. This allowed officers, on and off-site, to see exactly what the drones see in real-time, which greatly enhanced their situational awareness and ability to respond quickly and effectively to any incidents or emergencies. The application’s full encryption ensures the highest level of protection for customer data, ensuring peace of mind during sensitive operations.

The transformative impact of drone technology in policing

Drone technology represents a significant advancement in police operations. From providing real-time aerial perspectives to enhancing communication and situational awareness, drones have revolutionised the way police forces approach surveillance, information gathering, and emergency response. While challenges such as connectivity issues persist, innovative solutions like the Excell 4G LTE optimisation antenna, UAV Streamer, Exstream Video Application and satellite technology are instrumental in overcoming these obstacles.

Many police forces, as well as other emergency services, have showcased how these technologies effectively bridge communication gaps and ensure the success, safety, and security of drone operations. By integrating these advanced tools into their operations, police forces can fully leverage the capabilities of drone technology to bolster public safety and effectively respond to incidents.

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