In its second demonstration to showcase its aerial surveillance ability during the Ganpati immersions on Saturday, ‘Netra’, the indigenously developed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), impressed the Mumbai police by its strategic flight capacity. However, policemen, monitoring the demonstration, feel that the resolution of the cameras fitted to the battery-operated and remotely-controlled device need to be enhanced in order to make surveillance quality better.
‘Netra’ had made its maidan flight during MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s Azad Maidan rally on August 21. It is yet to be inducted into the Mumbai police force.
Additional commissioner of police (south region) Krishna Prakash told HT on Sunday that Netra was “very effective” at Girgaum Chowpatty on Saturday.
He said the police were happy with the movement and manoeuvrability of the UAV. Explaining how the police used ‘Netra’, Prakash said the UAV was used to observe crowds and keep an eye on immersion routes. It showed areas that suddenly became crowded and required more deployment. The UAV also spotted roads where vehicles were wrongly parked, thereby enabling the police to take corrective measures, he said.
Officials said the UAV was effective in areas where CCTVs were not fitted and also in the maze of high rise buildings. Officials said such a device could be helpful for terror surveillance and fire incidents.
Officials said that though the machine could pinpoint a person in the crowd and a vehicle on the road, it could not show the person’s face or the vehicle number. “The technical experts of the ideaForge and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who have jointly developed ‘Netra’, said that improving the machine camera’s resolution could be done as per the police force’s requirement,” officials said.
The officials will now send a report to the State. Senior police officials will take a final call on the machine which is expected to cost around Rs24 lakh.