Drones and the smart city.
Wisconsin police recently reported that with the help of their search and rescue drone, they captured a robbery suspect that was evading police. Amidst all the negative publicity surrounding drones and UAVs that has matriculated in the news recently.
In a “smart city” concept, a city will interconnect all public services using digital, information and communication technologies. The resulting enhancement in the quality and performance of urban services reduces cost and resource consumption within the city. Currently, sectors that have been developing this technology include government services, traffic management, energy, water and waste.
This vision focused on the public safety sector, which relates to the aforementioned news report out of Wisconsin. In a smart city, a 911 call would immediately dispatch a properly outfitted UAV to the exact GPS location of the caller. Unimpeded by stop signs, road traffic and inefficient street travel, the UAV is able to fly directly to the scene. Its real-time video link to a squad car, fire truck and/or ambulance, as well as to the 911 dispatcher, would provide first responders with an accurate scene assessment. The UAV provides video feed of a raging fire, mass shooting or riotous group in order to enhance the situational awareness of the responding officer(s). With this technology, first responder safety is not only enhanced but their ability to effectively deal with the situation as it is presented is increased.
Smart city technology is coming. It is not a technology of the distant future. The use of a search and rescue drone to get a violent offender off the street yesterday is testimony of its effectiveness at enhancing public safety.
Increasingly with a drones it is realized that you can interact physically with the world around you in a much wider circle, beyond your own reach both personally and as an enterprise. UAVs provides a three dimensional view of your business and enables customers to redefine their industries.
Drones (UAVs) are an important part of the Internet of Things.
- They can be summoned to carry objects from one location to another.
- Equipped with Wi-Fi, they can provide broadband connectivity on demand to places where it would otherwise be unavailable.
- Equipped with video cameras, they can show us what’s going on in locations where we might otherwise have to guess or, when one needs to oversee conditions in remote locations that are tough to monitor.
Equipped with RFID antennas or sensors, they can help us track objects or people, or alert us to changing environmental conditions.
Urbanisation is expected to grow by as much as 90% by 2050 and technology is the only way to leverage existing resources to cope with such an increase in demand. To this end, smart cities projects have been launched the world over to cope with the looming contention. Drones and the smart city is a very effective way of dealing with the congestion.
So what is a Smart City?
There are many definitions but common themes include:
- An ecosystem of connected sensors (often referred to as IOT)
- Expedited feedback to key actors, being either the public utility of local government, or citizens, that have to modify their actions or behavior to to improve consumption patterns.
- An enabling and facilitative infrastructure by way of:
– Broadband connectivity for ease of access (Fibre)
– Shared platform of functionality for cooperation and innovation
- A responsive infrastructure that is able to respond to events or feedback (such dimming street lights when pedestrian traffic slows down, adjust robots to improve traffic flow, or send drones to respond to emergency events).
- Intelligent response to events (through Big Data and AI)
- Driven by social (community) needs, including going Green (by being more efficient with regards to green house emissions) for ‘on the grid’ activities.
So how does it work, the concept of: drones and the smart city?
Drones and the Smart City: APPLICATION AREAS
UAVs or drones are easy to deploy; they have flexibility in performing difficult tasks, supporting high-resolution imagery and can easily cover the remote areas. Drones are typically used in the following application areas:
- Surveillance and Security
- Inspection and Detection
- Surveying and Mapping
- Transport and Delivery
- Farming and Agriculture
- Wildlife and Game
Drones and the Smart City: MODES OF APPLICATION
These application modes mentioned above enable drones and the smart city to achieve the following outcomes:
Smart traffic management (Surveillance and Security)
- Having an eye in the sky guide the people on the ground about the cause of jam and help them manage the traffic properly. Now we can count, measure and analyze trajectories thanks to drones. With the deployment of a single UAV during several hours, continuously and get a more comprehensive look at traffic nodes. Smart traffic management is key for a smart city.
Crowd management (Surveillance and Security)
- Using drones to monitor crowds enable smarter policing.
Natural disaster management (Surveillance and Security)
- Taking precautionary measures in advance [by constantly monitoring] and by quickly deploying response team in case of disaster. UAVs can analyze the situation properly since in certain situations they can reach in areas that humans cannot reach.
- In China drones with speakers are used to warn citizens about wearing masks to protect them from the Corona Virus.
Smart transportation. (Surveying and Mapping)
- Drones can be used to map commuting routes. With the need to advance smart city programmes quickly, drones offer flexibility, allowing surveyors to map long corridors efficiently at the start of projects and collect in-depth data to aid decision-making at an earlier stage.
- Drones can also be used for transport and delivery (also known as URBAN AIR MOBILITY), especially last mile deliveries in congested areas. (Transport and Delivery)
Smart resource and asset management (Inspection and Detection) (Surveying and Mapping)
- Smart planning of facility construction and investments
- Smart tracking assets
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