Drones and College Football Stadium Surveillance

By Richard Ham

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly referred to as “drones” are changing the face of security surveillance. While some form of autonomous systems has been flying since 1918, the level of expertise and skill required often made them impractical. New sensors and cameras, as well as new safety technology and a workable regulatory environment, have made them not only practical, but the preferred method for large venue surveillance. Three areas of rapid advancement may be the tipping point to your ability to use UAS technology to improve your security posture:

  • A mature regulatory environment with practical waiver processes. Just a few years ago, waivers for operations or controlled airspace could take up to a year. The most recent automated systems allow some airspace waivers instantly and the advent of a remote pilot certificate with training standardized requirements and reduced confusion.
  • New sensors and software improve long distance surveillance without detection. New cameras can read license plates from distances exceeding half a mile and can incorporate facial recognition. Infrared cameras for night flying can detect and differentiate biological forms and are the standard for search and rescue missions covering large areas
  • User friendly UAS platforms with easy to learn programs for autonomous flights. My young students have no pilot skills to compare to UAS flying, but they are very adept at software. With sensors to avoid collision to reduce risk, the remote pilot can program the entire flight and operate it with the push of a button and monitor previously programmed flight plans.

During special events such as NCAA Division I football games or other large events, these three advancements have tipped the scales to reduce risk and improve capability. Nearly all large scale events can improve security surveillance by retaking “the high ground.”

Please join me at GSX for Session #4116, Using Drones for College Football Stadium Surveillance, on 24 September at 10:30 AM.