BlogDrone Surveillance: Are Drones Being Used for Surveillance?

Did you know that the concept of drones was first designed for military purposes in the 1850s ? Although recreational drone use has risen dramatically in recent years, there are a variety of drone solutions, including for security and surveillance.

Drones have a variety of applications, from search and rescue to professional photography. However, drone surveillance is one of the newest areas that is expanding, with promising results.

But is security surveillance with drones pervasive ? How does it work to adhere to surveillance laws? Read on for everything you need to know about surveillance drones and aerial surveillance.

What Is Drone Surveillance ?

Drones are often referred to as uncrewed aerial vehicles (UACs). They are considered aircraft without human operators.

While drones are often associated with photography and video for entertainment, they have other uses too. These include:

  • Search and rescue
  • Weather Monitoring
  • Security and surveillance
  • Traffic monitoring
  • Personal use
  • Firefighting

One of the ways drones can work is for security and surveillance. Surveillance refers to the observation of people, buildings, and other activities. The goal is usually to help protect, manage, and influence behaviors.

Aerial surveillance is one of the best ways to provide security. But there are limitations to manned operations, which makes drones so invaluable.

Drone surveillance refers to drones used by law enforcement and other agencies to carry different equipment for surveillance purposes. This can include video analytics (VCA), heat sensors, radars, and other essential equipment.

How Does Security Surveillance Use Drones?

The Federal Aviation Administration has introduced drone privacy requirements and other laws as part of its Modernization and Reform Act. Rules include larger drones over 55 pounds needing to be registered and remote identification for drones. However, it is also now more accessible for law enforcement to use surveillance drones.

Surveillance drones can stay in the air for long periods and carry high-tech equipment that helps surveillance. They have a variety of versatile uses for security and surveillance, including:

  • Carrying live-feed video cameras for VCA
  • Heat sensors
  • Infrared cameras
  • Wifi crackers

Drones vary in size, but their advancing technology allows them to carry sophisticated surveillance equipment, which can do everything from determining locations, following perpetrators, and monitoring phone calls. They also have more controversial possibilities of carrying weapons such as tasers or rubber bullets.

Security and Surveillance Areas

There are some common security and surveillance functions for drones. While the basic premise of drone surveillance is to help protect and survey, there are different specific security applications. Understanding how drones are used for security surveillance can help you develop a deeper understanding of their functions and potential.

Security personnel can use drones for monitoring lines and sites. For example, they can help monitor borders to prevent illegal border crossings and other risks such as human trafficking or wild animal traffic. Usually, a fixed-wing is used with in-line monitoring for this type of surveillance drone.

Also, drones with video analytics are often used for monitoring sites. For example, multi-rotors can follow objects and people with ease. They are easy to maneuver and cover large areas, which is perfect for security purposes.

Ground Support and Perimeter Protection

Drones can provide the VCA that ground response teams need to respond to security situations effectively. For example, they can capture detailed images to build an accurate image of a situation. They can also reduce the need for foot patrol and protect ground support from threats as they can connect to video analytics.

Features such as thermal cameras, their speed, and their size mean intruders can easily be identified. Situations can be dealt with effectively as there are eyes on areas that are usually out of reach. They can also be used to monitor areas of high crime activity without the police having to aggravate situations or monitor from the ground with a more limited perspective.

Oil and Gas

Drone surveillance is life-saving in industries such as the oil and gas industry. It can connect to video analytics for perimeter detection and enhance response systems. It can also reduce threats of theft, trafficking, and pipe sabotage.

Event Management

Drones are increasingly being used at events for security and surveillance purposes. They can support security infrastructure and help monitor the safety needs of an event, such as crowd control. They can also be used to survey event areas in advance to create the most effective safety plan.

Special Weapons and Tactics Teams (SWAT)

Aerial surveillance is often a critical part of SWAT team operations. However, traditional aerial surveillance methods such as helicopters are not always practical. Drones solutions help support SWAT team operations to help protect civilians and teams.

Maritime Defense

Another way drones are being used for security surveillance is as part of maritime defense strategies. They can help provide protection for yachts and monitor areas of piracy risk. It helps security personnel identify and manage threats before they materialize.

Traffic Security

Aerial surveillance can also monitor highways and cover large areas if there is a pursuit. They can monitor at-risk areas and also follow assets. The video analytics help security have more targeted responses and protect civilians.


Another way you can use surveillance drones is to protect animals from poachers. They can help enforce laws in at-risk areas, and you can deploy them rapidly to assess a situation if someone raises the alarm. They can also be used for general surveillance of areas to track endangered animals and monitor activity.

Benefits of Surveillance Drones

There are many benefits of drones, which is why there are over 520,000 personal drones and 330,000 commercial drones registered in the US. And the benefits of drones also apply to security and surveillance. These benefits include:

  • Cost-effective aerial surveillance
  • A faster and safer method of surveillance
  • Portability and maneuverability
  • Unmanned
  • High-quality images and VCA capabilities
  • Large area coverage

One of the most common aerial surveillance methods is with a helicopter. However, this comes with high costs, noise, and other limitations. Surveillance drones have lower operating costs and are a more responsive option. They can be deployed immediately, which helps improve outcomes of adverse security events.

Surveillance drones are easy to transport and maneuver, which allows you to monitor hard-to-reach areas. They also cover large areas with ease, which helps support ground control and ensures security personnel can be more efficient with their responses.

They are also a safer option for security surveillance because they are unmanned. Teams can have a better idea of situations and respond accordingly.

One of the biggest advantages to drones is that they can connect to video analytics, which is perfect for perimeter protection and other surveillance needs. Video analytics aims to detect security threats in real-time, which drones can support. Drones can provide better coverage of areas or be deployed in response to VCA.

Surveillance Drone Considerations

There is still debate over the use of drones for security and surveillance. There are certain laws to follow to abide by surveillance laws, such as police needing a valid search warrant to use drones. While there are still grey areas in the laws of aerial surveillance and drones, it is clear there is a lot of potential for the field.

If you follow surveillance laws and utilize drone potential, you have the possibility to enhance security. Protect your sites or lines with ease. However, be sure to follow procedures and laws to avoid costly legal issues.

Civilians are also still learning about drone surveillance and may have hesitations about the uses of drones. However, with more awareness and clarity around surveillance laws, drones will continue to become an integral part of the security and surveillance field.

What To Look For in Surveillance Drones

Surveillance drones have a variety of different functions. It is helpful to consider several factors when determining what drone is best for your security and surveillance needs.

  • Specific purpose
  • Grade
  • Fly time
  • Customizable features
  • Price
  • Weather resistance
  • Range
  • Specialty functions

These are several factors to consider when looking at surveillance drones. The best place to start is to consider your specific security needs. Certain drones have customizable features and functions, such as connections to video analytics.

You also want a surveillance drone that has the fly time and range you require. Other features include weather resistance and the grade. For example, some drones are military grade, designed for security and surveillance purposes.

It is also essential to pick a drone within an affordable price range. While a drone is invaluable to aid security and increase protection, it has to be within a realistic budget. You might need to budget for other equipment to support the drone, such as video analytic software and specific cameras.

Video Analytics for Your Drone

Drones are being used for surveillance in a variety of different ways. However, in order to utilize their security solutions, you need to connect them to video analytics.

VCA is one of the best drone solutions for security and surveillance purposes. Two-i provides video content analytic software to support your safety and security. Contact us to schedule a free demo to learn how our system can support your drone surveillance.

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