High-tech Drones for Women Safety

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The Maharashtra Government is soon slated to launch a special drive to ensure that Mumbai becomes a safe city for women. The latest initiative – usage of drone cameras – is being executed at a whopping cost of Rs. 250 crore.

In a bid to enhance the security and safety of women, Mumbai Police has come up with a Rs.252 crore Safe City Project, where cops will use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and install panic buttons across the city. Whenever citizens are in trouble, they can press the panic button which would then activate a drone equipped with a camera. The button will also alert the nearest police station. A drone will immediately fly to the spot of the incident and relay the happenings live to the police control room. This will help the police reach the crime spot at the earliest.

According to the police, the SafeCity Project will be implemented within three years, and for the first time in the country, the city will witness the use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) commonly known as drones for the safety of women.

Drones are used in situations where manned flights are considered to be too risky or difficult. They provide troops with a 24-hour eye in the sky, seven days a week. Each aircraft can stay aloft for upto 17 hours at a time, loitering over a particular area and send back real-time imagery of activities on the ground. The Indian Army uses high-tech Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to strengthen its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and improve the effectiveness of its military operations.

These drones are connected with an advanced software, linked to a mobile application. As soon as a woman download the App on her phone, she gets the panic button aspart of the same. Once the button is pressed, the drone is activated, identifying the location and will move to the same immediately.

Police Speak

“After the Nirbhaya gangrape incident of 2012, the Union Home Ministry invited proposals from police departments of big cities to provide more security to women. It also allocated central government funds for such projects. Mumbai Police came up with the ‘Safe City Project’ which contemplates use of state-of-the-art technology,” said K M Prasanna- Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime), who worked on the project.

“Sixty percent of the cost is expected to be borne by the Centre. The Maharashtra Government recently gave an ‘in-principle’ nod to the project. The entire city will be mapped using the Geographic Information System (GIS), and the spots where crimes against women have been reported frequently will be identified for installation of panic buttons,” he added.

Mumbai Police PRO – DCP Deepak Devraj said, “Drones will be used to ensure as well as provide better security in Mumbai.”

“Women travel a lot by buses, taxis and auto rickshaws. We are planning to provide QR Codes anda Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to these vehicles so that they can be tracked,” Prasanna said. Introduction of ‘Automatic Number Plate Identification’ and ‘Facial Recognition System’, are also part of the Safe City Project.

CCTV Cameras

“In addition to over 5,000 CCTV cameras already in place, another 1,500 cameras will be set up to widen the surveillance network in the city. We have identified 500 locations with underpasses and skywalks. These spots too will be monitored with CCTV cameras. Commissioner of Police- Datta Padsalgikar, and Joint Commissioner of Police(Crime) – Sanjay Saxena, were monitoring the implementation of the project that will roll out over the next three years,” added Prasanna.