Drones have the potential to open a world of possibilities for risk management agencies involved with executive and corporate security. For instance, they can be used to conduct large-area ongoing surveillance of facilities to help protect people and facility assets.
Should there appear to be a security breach, drones could be sent out to investigate the situation first, providing a safe, reliable initial assessment of what is occurring. Based on this assessment, you and your staff can determine next steps, whether that means personally investigating the situation further or deciding that local authorities should be called in.
However, here’s our challenge. While drones offer many possibilities, the law is still not there yet. Right now, we find drones are being used more extensively in other parts of the world to help minimize risks. The Federal Aviation Association (FAA), which licenses pilots to fly drones, as well as the Department of Justice and FBI, which regulate drone use in the U.S., are currently taking their time deciding how drones can and cannot be used in this country.
One reason for this is that there have been several “bad actors” putting drones to use for unsavory purposes over the years. This has hampered the entire drone industry in the U.S. and slowed the adoption and growth of this technology in corporate security.
With that said, we still have high expectations for drone technology in the future and believe it will play a significant role in risk management and corporate security. Because of this, we would like to share some key facts about this technology, so you know more about drones and their use when the time comes.
- Drones are officially called “unmanned aerial vehicles” – UAVs.
- UAVs aren’t a new concept. Surprisingly, they are more than 100 years old. Austria used the first UAVs in 1849 in an assault on Venice, Italy. Instead of motors, these drones were powered by balloons, each carrying bombs. Of the 200 released, most were swept away by sea breezes; however, at least one is known to have reached its destination where it exploded as planned.
- There are many types and sizes of drones. Some have more arms or rotors than others. Drones with more arms can carry more weight; this typically means more, and larger cameras and batteries can be carried, making the drone more useful.
- A standard drone consists of a motor, propeller, wings, a GPS, altimeter (an altitude meter), accelerometer (to measure speed), gyroscope (to help in direction), compass, a communication system to convey data, batteries, and remote control.
- Some of the latest drones have very high-resolution cameras and are equipped with “sense and avoid” technology. This helps ensure the drone does not fly into a tree or other object on the way to its destination.
- Software for drones is advancing very quickly. With edge native applications becoming the new paradigm for running software, some of these programs are designed to allow drones to fly autonomously through pre-programmed routes and switch between the node when it moves out of range.
- Along with the software, drone technology, in general, is progressing very quickly. Many drones are now available for commercial and private use that were previously earmarked only for military use not too many years ago.
As noted already, sea breezes prevented nearly all the drones launched in the 1849 assault on Venice from reaching their destination. Wind is still a problem today. Complicating matters, wind speed on the ground may not be the same as what the drone experiences once aloft. Further, weather conditions, in general, can have a significant influence on whether a drone can and should be used.
Since 2020 was such a tumultuous year, it’s possible that Congress and the government agencies mentioned earlier will ease some of their restrictions on the use of drones. This would allow risk management agencies such as TAL Global to take advantage of their full potential, helping us minimize risk and provide even more security options for our clients in the future.
As always, we value your feedback, which helps us shape our perspective on recent events, security, and the services we offer.
Chief Executive Officer
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