While major countries like the United States, Israel, United Kingdom, Turkey are continuing to lead the race in the increasing investment in drone technology, it appears that Australia is the latest nation to join the ‘drone race’.
The county’s northeastern state of Queensland has slowly become the hub of drones, with the state becoming the first in Australia to launch a strategy for unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
And now, what seems to be the latest development is that the drone technologies will play a major role in policing activities in the state, with authorities equipping the police officer’s motorcycles with drones to carry out forensic crash investigations.
The Queensland Police Service (QPS), which serves as the states’ principal law enforcement agency, will now use the DJI (Da-Jiang Innovations) Phantom 4 RTK which has been paired with Pix4D mapping software to map out vehicle crashes.
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According to Sergeant Carl Cutler of the Queensland Police Forensic Crash Unit, the drones will help to overcome roadblocks due to traffic in a bid to reach the spot of the scene of the crime within time to provide help or investigate the incident.
“Everyone can relate to being stuck at a road closure…it’s frustrating. But from our thinking, if a person was lying there with gunshot wounds, there would be a team of detectives there,” said Cutler.
Moreover, the drones will serve the task of being a timely crash investigator and may even record visuals of messages passed on by the victim, which may not have been possible otherwise.
“With a fatal road crash, you’re going to get one crash investigator, who has to capture all that same information. That investigator has to be able to relay that victim’s end of life story to their next of kin, to the courts, to the tribunal. That takes time.” added Cutler.
With Queensland being twice the size of Texas housing a population of more than 5,000,000 people, drones are used for multiple purposes by the police. However, the Forensic Crash Unit is tasked with the responsibility of reaching the scene first and thoroughly document the incident before the roads are cleared.
Cutler says the birth of the idea of using drones along with police bikes originated from being at the right place at the right time. “This particular product came about from 2 projects,”
“The first was putting a fully qualified crash reconstructionist on a motorcycle so they could get to the scene quicker through traffic: get to the scene and mark, photograph, and move; so that the scene could be cleared but the evidence was captured,” Cutler explained. “At the same time, we started developing our Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) program,” said Culter.
Moreover, according to research, the Queensland motorcycle drone program is far speedy and accurate than the normal process of the investigation while travelling via road to the accident spot.
According to Miriam McNabb, the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones – “Prompt action and speedy processing of an accident scene not only benefits the community by clearing the roads sooner: accurate documentation and measurement can also provide needed evidence for investigations, prosecutions or insurance claims.”
Queensland recently became home to Boeing’s Loyal Wingman manufacturing plant which made it the first Australian-built drone in half a century, with the announcement made last week.
“The creation of additional new aerospace capability could see unmanned defence aircraft produced here by the middle of the decade, with prototype testing and certification taking place before that. We are carrying out our plan to recover and grow, including into new industries, and it’s very important that we do that not just as a government but with key partnerships.”
Supporting this project is a significant investment in the Queensland defence and manufacturing industries and will strengthen ties between Australia and the global defence market.” said Queensland state’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.