Remote monitoring by autonomous drone: a new way to secure sensitive sites

Posted in Engineering on April 3, 2020

Autonomous surveillance drones are revolutionising security over sensitive sites. Fully automated, they do not require remote pilot and are directly integrated into existing security networks. They can be operated by security officers from their standard control interface (VMS / Hypervisor) like any other detection sensor. Today, thanks to 4G and 5G technologies, the  autonomous UAV and the control center can be geographically dissociated around the globe. Remote monitoring by drone paves the way for new applications in security and safety.

Make surveillance operations more efficient and cost-effective

Thanks to remote operation, there is no need for on-site team! Drones provide continuous aerial surveillance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Security and safety teams can schedule remote patrols and follow live the drone’s trajectory and video feedbacks on their remote interface. In the event of a security breach, autonomous drones automatically take off to the alert point to remove doubts. Security teams can then take control of the camera remotely to identify the threat and prepare an intervention.

This solution enables safety and security managers of sensitive sites to pool their human, financial and material resources. Drones can be deployed on sites all over the world and be operated from a single control center. They replace on-site safety/security officers in their simple, tedious or dangerous missions, allowing them to focus on decision-making.


Remote monitoring by droneSkeyetech autonomous drone monitoring a Restricted Area  through remote operations (Source: Azur Drones)


Use cases of remotely-operated surveillance drones

The use of remotely-operated autonomous drones is suitable for many applications:

Monitoring of small or isolated sites
Sites such as quarries, mines, farms or wind farms usually have a limited remote monitoring system, without on-site security teams. Networks of detection sensors allow the detection of alerts but struggle to cover the entire perimeter, making the qualification of the threat very complex. False alarms are therefore numerous, not to mention the useless mobilization of intervention forces. Autonomous drones reinforce the capabilities of the remote surveillance system. They provide a 360-degree mobile vision without blind spots, enabling rapid detection and identification of the threat.

Remote monitoring by droneSecurity agent operating Skeyetech autonomous drone remotely from the Video Management System (Source: Azur Drones)

Monitoring of temporary installations
Remote surveillance by drone is also a relevant solution for temporary installations, such as construction sites. In France, according to the French Building Federation, 65% of building companies report an average of 3 major thefts on building sites per year. Most of these thefts take place at weekends, when there is no staff. Remotely-operated drones make it possible to ensure the safety of these installations, without having to deploy a temporary guarding system or to install a complex and costly network of cameras.

Monitoring of hazardous sites
Sites for production, storage or transport of hazardous materials have many safety and security needs. Human presence is often restricted and controlled by very strict security measures. Remote monitoring by drone makes it possible to ensure permanent surveillance of these sites (perimeter patrols, routine inspections, etc.) without jeopardizing the safety of teams dedicated to security or maintenance.

What are the requirements?

Before deploying a remotely-operated UAV system, it is important to pay attention to several criteria:

– Internet connection: fibre or 4G/5G           
The UAV system connects to the Internet via a secure connection. The site must provide fibre access or allow the use of public or private 4G/5G mobile networks. This connection must guarantee sufficient debit to allow a smooth display of camera feedbacks and an acceptable response time to operator commands.  When these conditions are combined with a high quality data compression and encapsulation system, the latency level shall not exceed 500 milliseconds. 

– Cybersecurity
Remote operation may expose sensitive site information, such as aerial images, on the Internet. A strict IT policy must be followed to ensure a high level of security. The SKEYETECH system is equipped with powerful firewalls to provide a secure connection with the user’s network. The communications are encrypted (IPsec AES256) to protect the data.

– Regulatory approval    
Finally, authorisations for automated, BVLOS and remote-operated flights must be granted by Civil Aviation Authorities.

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