The Singapore Police Force started trialing a new drone system to complement to their ground operations during the COVID-19 outbreak. With the city under lockdown (most businesses have reopened since the Phase 2 reopening on 18 June but working from home remains default where possible), industrial estates were becoming deserted, resulting in raised risk of illegal activities.
The drone system developed by the Home Team Science and Technology Agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs utilizes a Drone Box concept, wherein routine tasks like battery insertion, battery preparation, picking and swapping of the payload required for that specific mission have been automated. The drones can be operated remotely from a back end command and control center and are able to fly beyond the operator’s visual line of sight.
The trials, started in late April and will end once data system reliability and mission effectiveness have been evaluated. This project results from a reduced presence of the Singapore Police Force on the ground due to the COVID-19 outbreak which has led to interrogations relating to safety for industrial estates.
Since an on-site operator is not required, the autonomous drones can be deployed in hazardous and remote sites, and could be expanded to search and rescue operations, and to deliver supplies and equipment. This project could lead to other applications for the self operating drone system. For instance, HTX is exploring the potential of this system for the delivery of automated external defibrillators within a shorter time.
The Singapore Police has used drones during events requiring high level of security in the past.
(Sources: Channel NewsAsia; Straits Times)