UAE begins drone surveillance for Dubai’s free-zone technology park

Published September 29th, 2015 - 10:12 GMT

Dubai Silicon Oasis will have an extra set of “eyes” to monitor the 600-hectare free zone technology park as part of its smart security surveillance programme.

Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) launched its Drones for Security Surveillance initiative that allows Remote Piloted Aerial Vehicles, locally known as drones, to provide added security to its mixed-use community where more than 47,000 people live and work.

An authorised team will operate the drones, which is equipped with a high-resolution camera and a supersensitive microphone. The drones have the ability to record audio and video in real time. Additionally, the camera will have the option of capturing flawless still photographs of a specific scene or location.

Engineer Khalil Odeh Shalan, vice-president of Operation and Facilities at DSOA, said that the use of this new technology will significantly enhance the security team’s response time and help them monitor the premises with ease.

“We have conducted thorough research and done due diligence before introducing these machines and would like to reassure our residents and business partners that the new system will not compromise the privacy of residential or commercial properties at DSO,” Shalan said.

Shalan said one drone is currently patrolling Silicon Oasis and the authority plans to add four more by the end of the year.

Drones are increasingly being used in the emirate for different purposes. Government utility and transportation agencies as well as other federal governments have used drones to monitor construction sites for labour violations, completion of construction projects, solar panel efficiency, and to monitor crowds.

But flying drones need to be in coordination with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA). Khalid Al Arif, Director of Standards and Regulations Department at DCAA, said: “The use of drones and the related air support they provide can be a distinct advantage in protecting the public from threats and in successfully helping to identify and prevent crimes.”

Mohammad Abu Taleb, 26, a resident of Silicon Oasis for the past two years, lauded the initiative. But he had some concerns.

“They have to make sure that the drones are being flown appropriately and not invading people’s privacy. In a practical sense, they have to explain to residents where it’s going to be flying, its flight range, and other details so if we see drones flying outside our window, we know,” Taleb said.

By Janice Ponce de Leon

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