Demand for drones, robots and other unmanned security technology is growing. Should you be considering implementing an unmanned security solution for your organization?
For many security professionals, the idea of unmanned security is appealing, with its potential for greater reach and access to all parts of the area you are protecting. Multiple considerations affect how you might incorporate it into your security strategy. Here are the factors to consider.
Unmanned ground vehicles, also called UGVs or ground robots can provide more “eyes and ears” throughout a physical location. “Think about a huge parking garage in the middle of a city with a lot of security needs,” says Will Wise, Group Vice President, security portfolio, Reed Exhibitions. “Of course you’re going to want to have security guards on the premises, but the security guard functionality will be enhanced by using ground robots.”
Unmanned aerial vehicles, also called UAVs or drones, many equipped with video cameras, have multiple potential uses. “First responders are under tremendous pressure in flood areas,” Wise explains, “so drones can be used to get eyes in the air on what is going on in high-risk areas, and that can help first responders know how to best proceed to save lives.” Drones are also useful in inspecting and monitoring critical infrastructure. Commercially, drones are also useful for inspection and monitoring as part of a video surveillance and intelligence strategy. Counter-drone technology aim to prevent drones from attacking or engaging with areas like stadiums, airports, prisons, medical facilities and public spaces using radar-based and other innovative technologies.
Unmanned/autonomous solutions, particularly drones- create other concerns including an overload on the airspace infrastructure. The predicted massive increase in registered drones over the next five years is going to create pressure on expanding and perfection the airspace security infrastructure and rules. “It’s not just going to be airplanes and helicopters up there in the sky anymore,” Wise says. “There are going to be a lot of drones and eventually vehicles like air taxis, so you have to have a sophisticated mobile identification system, similar to license plates..” The need to regulate the airspace is part of a larger concern in the unmanned security & safety field known as market progression. The regulations and policies governing the use of drones and other robotics systems is rapidly evolving and will be a major education, evaluation point and consideration for companies & public sector entities using drones as part of their security & safety strategies.
If you’re considering using unmanned security, another factor is the cost of entry: using drones to surveille your manufacturing facility requires both talent and expense in the form of hiring and training drone pilots. Getting the right technology is also important, given that UAVs and UGVs are autonomous, so much of the reliability will come from the machine itself along with human expertise.
When beginning to implement unmanned security solutions, it also pays to start small and clearly identify the benefit you hope to gain. “The companies starting pilot projects with robots and drones are the ones that are creating a successful learning and results road map,” Wise notes.
To learn more, attend the Unmanned Security Expo New York, November 14 and 15 at the Javits center. The event will focus on UAS and UGV technology, services and hardware and counter-drone solutions - and will have a host of exhibitors as well as 16 complimentary educational sessions.