Police Scotland has become the first UK police force to implement UAV video technology with the capability to live-stream from drones and helicopters.

The newly deployed ExStream UAV Streamer, developed by Excelerate Technology, was customised to improve situational awareness across air to ground operations, solving the long-term issue of the feed only being visible to a single operator or ground-based unit.

The UAV Streamer connects to existing UAVs and other video devices and delivers the video into the ExStream video streaming service even when only low bandwidths are available from the field. From there, users can access the remote streams via dedicated iOS and Android applications, Windows and Mac clients in addition to a secure web portal.

Police Scotland commissioned the complete package to be in place to stream helicopter downlink into the control room during COP26 in November 2021.

Inspector Nicholas Whyte, of Police Scotland’s Air Support Unit, said: “Police Scotland remain focused on providing officers with innovative solutions that help us to keep people safe. The Excelerate technology allows the Air Support Unit to downlink live footage from the helicopter or drone to any control room in Scotland, to police commanders on the ground and to officers’ police-issue mobile devices who are directly involved with the incident. This gives those involved a real time, aerial view of events, enabling them to make informed decisions about an operation or search as well as maintaining officer and public safety.”

David Savage, founder and CEO at Excelerate, said: “Our solution to allow streaming from a helicopter to the control room during COP26, is a perfect example of Excelerate’s DNA in action. The challenge was to provide a robust, end-to-end solution to very specific requirements; and we did so through the problem-solving and outside the box thinking that have been our hallmark over two decades of experience and investment in secure infrastructure and connectivity ecosystems for UK and overseas emergency services.”

Currently, Police Scotland has five ExStream UAV Streamers in operation providing greater flexibility and resilience around Scotland – with the aim of rolling out further units as part of the Force’s ambition of being a first adopter of leading-edge technology.

The system in place enables drone operators and teams within Police Scotland to send live simultaneous footage via Excelerate’s secure dual-resilient data centres, which are cyber and national infrastructure-approved for greater security, where it can be immediately accessed by relevant personnel on any team member’s authorised and connected device.

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