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Published on 26/03/2015

Drones Land in the Safety Sector

drones sécurité
If air forces have been using drones for several years on intelligence missions and interventions, civil security organisations are only starting to use them.
Abandoning simple aerial photography, which still represents 80% of the supply, drone manufacturers are increasingly focusing on the safety market with increasingly sophisticated applications such as:
  • The inspection of civil engineering structures and infrastructures for the prevention of accidents and maintenance: aerial thermography for example is used to detect water leakage points, fractures in piping or construction errors seen from the outside of a building. Drones can also look closely at facilities that are difficult to access (dams, towers, pipelines, etc.).  The French Electricity Board (EDF) uses them to check the condition of its power lines. GRT Gaz uses them to monitor its natural gas transmission network.
  • Radio-nuclear detection.
  • Conducting compliance audits
  • Crisis management: drones can be used to obtain a comprehensive view of the situation in order to coordinate the various response teams.
  • Assistance in case of emergency, bad weather, natural disasters or emergency response plans to obtain photographic evidence of the material damage or a precise human toll.
  • Post-loss appraisal
  • The transportation of emergency medication (a simple drone costing 2000 euros can carry a kilogram of medication).
  • For urban safety, drones can be used to monitor outdoor events in urban environments.
  • They can be used for on-spot monitoring of forest fires to complement the existing airborne resources. (used by the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service in the Landes region).
  • During the interventions one or more micro-drones can provide information on the outline of the fire, the position of the hot spots, the location of areas for emergency protection, and in particular the presence of people trapped by fire.La vidéo-surveillance : des élus locaux de Marseille ont proposé de recourir à des drones de vidéo-surveillance pour sécuriser la ville.
  • Video surveillance: local officials in Marseille have proposed the use of video surveillance drones to secure the city.
The advantages of drones:
a drone is more manoeuvrable than a helicopter ...
The intervention of a drone is estimated to cost four times less than a helicopter.
The use of a drone is highly flexible and depends on the equipment it carries: thermal camera to detect overheating, microphones to measure noise pollution, Geiger counter to analyse the level of radioactivity in the air, etc.
Regulations are liable to change:
- The official text of the decree issued by the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) dated 12 April 2012 on the design of civilian aircraft operating without anyone on board. Official Bulletin dated 10 May 2012.
- Official text of the decree issued by the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) dated 12 April 2012 on the use of airspace by aircraft operating without anyone on board. Official Bulletin dated 10 May 2012
The main points of the currently applicable regulations are:
  • Manufacturers must obtain from the DGAC a design type certificate which states in particular the category of the aircraft (A to G), the nature of the activity involved, and the mission scenario (S1 to S4).
  • The operators must be included in a list established by the DGAC which mentions in particular the nature of the activity, the mission scenario (S1 to S4), the manufacturer and model of aircraft used.
  • Remote pilots must have obtained official certification (theoretical training) and have a DNC (aeronautical qualification).
  • Clearance for flights is obtained by prior filing with the French civil aviation safety directorate (DSAC) (prefectures) of the manual of special activities (MAP).
These regulations limit certain industrial uses and are therefore liable to be revised in the near future.
Meanwhile, the European Commission is working on the harmonization of the regulations applicable to drones.
Sources: Professional Civil Drone Federation, info.expoprotection
If you would like to have further information on drone security applications, CNPP provides:
A special file on drones in the February issue of FACE AU RISQUE.
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