Back to the Future Part-2, a science fiction movie released in 1989, depicted drones being used to record news. More recently, in 2019, Spider-Man: Far from Home shows the usage of drones to create holographic cataclysmic threats that Spider-Man thwarts to save the day. Although the exaggerated depiction of the tech-led future that shows the high-tech usage of drones seems unreal in the films, the reality is that drones have come a long way in how they are used.
Drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) that operate without a pilot on board. For many people, UAV or Drones is a novel technology that will soon be used -if not already- to deliver pizzas, groceries, and medical supplies. But the truth is that drones have been around us for centuries and are capable of much more than just delivering stuff. The idea of UAVs first became known on 22nd August 1849, when Austria attacked Venice with unmanned balloons full of explosives. During the initial years, drones were limited to target practice by military personals, but their applications expanded with time and improved technologies.
Drones are used in surveillance, monitoring, detection, prevention, targeting, and even strike missions. There are various use cases of drones in public sector enterprises like tourism agriculture, military, urban development, healthcare, security, mining, telecom, oil and gas, disaster management, land mapping, wildlife, maritime operations etc.
Various governments around the globe have been making use of UAVs for many purposes. For example, in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration uses drones to inspect railway lines to monitor and prevent rail accidents by monitoring derailments. The administration also uses drones to inspect bridges. In Singapore, aerial vision is used to conduct surveillance of mosquito-infested areas to prepare a strategy to fight dengue. In Canada, many wildfire services use UAVs for recon missions, smoke and fire detection, and various rescue operations.
The Indian Government also uses drone technology in its different sectors:
The Indian Government has already implemented aerial vision technologies in various sectors. The pilot projects deployed by the governments are now being expanded to full-fledged programs to expand the reach of aerial vision. However, there are certain challenges facing the development and deployment of UAVs- regulations, target applications, man-machine interface design issues, navigation, safety/reliability, collision prevention, take-off/landing techniques, etc. Several companies help in solving the above challenges as they have specialized engineering departments offering drone and middleware services by working with leading ISVs and OEMs.
Video and image analytic software monitor and analyze video streams and images to find patterns and anomalies. The market for such software is increasing rapidly, as corroborated by a report by 6wreseach, which states that the video surveillance market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.8% during 2021-27. The report also showed that the Government and Transportation sector is the biggest amongst the various vertical markets. This is because the significant use-case of video and image analytics is in surveillance. According to the report, the positive outlook of the Indian Government and the various initiatives such as Smart Cities Mission, UDAN scheme, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation, and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) has led to this rise. The rise in demand is also due to purchase orders for surveillance devices by various state governments. Not long ago, Forbes India reported that Delhi had surpassed metropolitans like New York, London, and Shanghai in being the most surveilled city per square mile. This means Delhi has more than 1826 surveillance cameras per square mile, followed by London (1138) and Chennai (609).
Video and Image analytics is also used in traffic management for Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR), issuance of over-speed challan, red light or any other traffic violation. Airports are planning to use image analytics to allow passengers to unpack their bags virtually. The scanners embedded with image analytics will provide better object detection and significantly reduce the number of bags that will need to be checked manually. Many insurance companies use image analytics to assess damaged vehicles for easy resolution of claims.
Few real-world uses of Video and Image analytics by Indian Public Sectors-
The Indian Government and the various state governments are spending heavily on surveillance and monitoring equipment. The spending is only expected to rise as incidents of thefts, women safety and terrorism rise year after year. Moreover, rapid urbanization is also a factor to deploy surveillance cameras around the cities.