Reason? The police had deployed drones with face recognition software (FRS), which helped them spot suspects before the cause trouble. “FRS is a valuable asset. Cops can monitor suspects and nab them instantly,” said city police commissioner Shankar Jiwal.
The drone wing of the Chennai police is getting cameras with FRS effective from a height of 30 to 50 feet, besides infra-red and thermal scanning cameras to spot people swept out to sea even in the dark.
The state government has sanctioned Rs 3.6 crore to create the drone unit, which will be the police’s eyes in the sky. “As a part of the make-inIndia programme, we have asked a few startups to build a dozen indigenous drones as per our specifi cations,” said commissioner Jiwal.
Chennai city south joint commissioner of police Narenthiran Nayar, who is coordinating with the technical experts, said “The drones will be ready in another two months and a team of police personnel is getting trained to fly them.”
The city police are building three types of drones. The fi rst weighs 2 kg with a fl ying range of 5 km. These will mostly will be used for surveillance along the Adyar and Cooum riverbeds, parks and some remote places in the city. The second type is a long-range drone, which can fly for up to 15 km. The third is a delivery drone with a range of 2km that can carry at least 10 kg. of goods especially buoys, floats, and life jackets. These drones will also have night vision cameras and thermal scanners and will be used to fly out buoys, floats and life jackets to people in trouble at sea close to the coast.
How will the drone unit handle the challenge of setting up control rooms across the city? Madras Institute of Technology (MIT) professor K Senthil Kumar, who is one of the technical advisers for the drone project, said, “We are planning to set up offi ce in shipping containers at Marina Beach, T Nagar and other strategic locations. Each container will have computers and a dedicated team monitoring the feed from the drones. The containers will have temporary drone pad on their rooftops.” The containers will have a power generator and an uninterrupted internet connection.
These containers can be shifted from one place to the other whenever there are VVIP movements to be monitored. This would reduce the response time in case of emergencies too, said professor Senthil Kumar.