Delhi Police has finally taken the step of buying eight new drones, a year after a tender was prepared to acquire more of these unmanned aerial vehicles. The plan is to buy them from DRDO or IIT Delhi, but officers said bids would also be invited from foreign firms. Sources said the cameras fitted in drones would be able to record high resolution videos and the operator would have to remain just 300 metres away. The vehicles will have a vertical take-off and landing capability and would be maneuverable within closed spaces.
The UAVs would be quad-copters constructed out of carbon fibre composites fitted with CCTV cameras with a 270-degree pan capability. The drones would also be fitted with GPS-guided mini radars to map the terrain and alert the operator about possible collision with objects if it goes out of sight. They are likely to cost between Rs 20,000 and 50,000. The UAVs will be used to keep an eye on protesters and public during events and the footage will be used for post-incident analysis. Police currently use private cameramen or borrow footage from TV channels.
The drones used during the Trilokpuri riots were hired from a private company. Even traffic police can use one for monitoring traffic jams and effect of waterlogging during the monsoon. Senior officers of Delhi Police have held meetings with DGCA to chalk out the technical requirements of the drones to make them usable in the city. “We have asked for information on the models available in the market,” said a senior police officer. The initial choice for Delhi Police, sources said, would be to get a variant of the DRDO Netra or a model developed by IIT-D students. The UAVs would also be tested for Indian conditions before an order is placed with foreign firms.