Four drones deployed at the Expo 2020 Dubai site have been helping to keep the perimeters of the world’s fair secure, day and night, for the past six months.
The Drone Box, operated by Dubai Police, is a platform for aerial vehicles in the emirate which has cut police response time to criminal and traffic reports from 4.4 minutes to one.
Some people were sceptical when the force displayed the technology at the Gitex trade fair in 2017, said Dubai Police chief Lt Gen Abdullah Al Marri.
“No one, I guess, believed at that time that we’d have them [in operation], but now we have them here at Expo as part of the security,” he said on Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Police Summit.
“Technology is a big driver in helping police to combat crime, and events like this summit are about global authorities showing and sharing [best practice]. We at Dubai Police are always open to learn.”
The drones used at Expo can detect 92 types of incident, including fires, traffic problems and intruders.
Capt Mohamad Al Muhairi, head of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Centre at Dubai Police, said two Drone Box units are being used at Expo, each of which hosts two drones.
“We have mainly been carrying out patrolling missions over the Expo site, whereby the drones survey the area after hours to ensure no one enters the site unauthorised,” he said.
“If people do try to get in, we can respond.”
Capt Al Muhairi said that having the drones on patrol at a large site such as the Expo lessens the police response time.
“It basically shortens the time it takes to patrol the whole area as it operates above ground,” he said.
“Instead of sending personnel on ground or cars to survey the area, we send drones. It cuts the [patrol] duration by two thirds.
“The drones have also been used to identify traffic jams, accidents or incidents around the area surrounding the Expo site, which allows officers to respond to an incident quickly and clear it if necessary.”
Police drones have responded to hundreds of minor incidents at Expo, have undertaken more than two thousand patrolling missions to date and have completed more than 1,000 operational hours.