Published On: Tue, Apr 24th, 2012

Eyes in the Sky

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In the movie “They Live”, which is interesting for many reasons, a city is depicted where people are constantly monitored by flying surveillance cameras that are odly similar to the new unmanned drones that are currently appearing around the world.

Flying surveillance cameras were considered science fiction in 1988. They are reality today.

But the drones are not used for continuous surveillance?!. No, not yet. But we’re getting there. Take for example the initiative of Belgian city Genk. Here an ignorant mayor gave his consent to the introduction of camera-mounted drones to be used by the local police force. Only for traffic surveillance, and perhaps for large events, but the copter will never be deployed for filming residents the Mayor Wim Dries utters. Sure, dude, we believe you.

An actual, modern unmanned drone mounted with a video camera.

The gadget is capable of taking razor-sharp images, see through fog, and is equipped with night-vision like infrared cameras. And the monsters are pretty cheap. They fly for 36,000 euro. Cameras included. The low costs for operating these little spies is perhaps one of the bigger concerns, cause it won’t take long for some desk jockey to figure out that deploying drones is much cheaper than deploying human LEO’s. When that happens it won’t take long for the fictional city of “They Live” to become real.

Or worse. Cause why not expand a little on the configuration? We have the technology, so let’s use it for the benefit and safety of our civilians. Why not add this awesome Japanese invention that is capable of matching a face against 36 million other faces in just one second in real time. That would be cool! Especially if we could layer it with all kind of data and info using augmented reality. If we could do that we can monitor a city from one central oversight control room while listening in and – if necessary – correct remotely through the IntelliStreets network. Awesome!

The quadrotors are deployed as from May 2012. Hail progress!!

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About the Author

- As a creative strategist I work on complex (digital) communications issues for international industry leading companies, organizations and agencies. I'm interested in how technology integrates with (and influences) traditional marketing, media, human behavior, society and culture.

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