Thursday, 27 June 2019

MfD: Czech police want to use drones to fight speeding

ČTK |
28 July 2016

Prague, July 27 (CTK) - The Czech police plan to use drones in searches in rough terrain and monitoring public gatherings as well as in fighting speeding and checking whether drivers follow other rules of the road, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes on Wednesday.

The police decided to use drones in South Moravia, Central Bohemia, South Bohemia and the Pardubice Region. They only began to learn to fly the small unmanned aircraft recently.

The police have been testing nine of them. The first six were bought by the Police Presidium late last year. In a test regime, these drones helped monitor whether illegal migrants do not cross the southern borders of the country.

The drones can fly for about 40 minutes and they can return to their pilot when their batteries are running down.

However, Czech authorities must define the rules for the use of drones. In the meantime, these aerial vehicles will not be allowed to fly above inhabited areas.

"Under the current legislation, a permission for flying a police unmanned vehicle cannot be granted. Such vehicles were not available at the time of the passage of the law," Interior Ministry spokeswoman Hana Mala told the paper.

Transport Ministry spokesman Tomas Nerold said the rules for police drones should be set in the Czech Republic within a few months.

Police Presidium spokesman Jozef Bocan said the police may start using drones for a broad spectrum of tasks. They might monitor events in which many people participate or be used for reconnaissance missions in impassable landscape, he said.

The drones may also be used during floods and other natural disasters, too, MfD writes.

One of the reasons for the use of a drone is that flying a drone to a given spot would be markedly cheaper than sending a helicopter with a pilot.

Pardubice regional police spokesman Petr Voldan said drones have a better view of the road than a patrol in a police car. Though the drones are not allowed to fly directly above roads at present, they can fly above fields along the road, he said.

Thanks to the drone, the police can get online videos of a road accident or a picture of the license plate of a car whose driver committed a traffic offence.

The Central Bohemia regional police want to use two drones to monitor the Brdy mountainous area soon, their chief Vaclav Kucera said.

The police are training six operators who need to gain the required experience in flying drones. "Our drones are rather big and so we primarily must observe safety rules," Kucera said.

If the rules enable it, the drones can be used to guard premises, for example, he said.

But drones are limited by weather as they cannot fly in strong wind. The Central Bohemian drones cannot fly in wind speed higher than 10 metres per second and other types of drones sold in the country can be used up to wind speed of 8 metres per second, which is a weather condition rather common in the Czech Republic, MfD writes.

Another problem with drones is that data transfer between a drone and its operator is usually not coded, which means that the data may leak, the paper writes.

In an extreme case, a technically skilled and more experienced user who buys the same kind of drone can take control of the police drone, said a drone importer who requested anonymity.

Kucera said the police expect the data transfer to be coded.

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