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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Smart inspection drones monitor construction sights for violations

The Ministry of Labour has begun using drone technology to support its inspectors in recording violations at construction sites.

DUBAI // The Ministry of Labour has begun using drone technology to support its inspectors in recording violations at construction sites.

Saqr Ghobash, the Minister of Labour, has launched a specialised drone to look for companies violating the midday break law that bans labourers from working under direct sunlight during the hot summer months.

Mr Gobash said the drone technology improved the efficiency of the Ministry’s field operations by providing an additional tool for its inspectors.

“It is very accurate and definitely saves the inspectors’ time and efforts, as it allows the team to monitor every movement from the screen attached on the remote control then note any violations by taking close pictures,” the minister said.

The idea of the drone was introduced by the Information Technology Department at the Ministry of Labour then was developed in partnership with students from the higher colleges of technology in Dubai.

The drone used by the ministry covers around two square kilometres over a 15 to 20 minute period and can reach altitudes up to one kilometre.

The remote-controlled “smart inspections drone” is equipped with a high definition camera, providing live footage to the operator, and a built-in navigation system capable of sending the drone to the exact coordinates of a preferred location.

Ministry officials said the drone has proven invaluable in monitoring construction sights for violations of the midday break law that was enforced from June 15 until September 15 and flouted by fifty-six companies this year.

The Ministry of Labour is seeking to further develop the project by developing a direct link between the drone and the Ministry’s labour monitoring systems so video evidence can be used to issue fines on spot.

The UAE government has encouraged the practical use of drone technology to aid government departments in the country with Shiekh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, launching a Dh1 million “UAE Drones for Good”competition last February.

Students from Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST) have already contributed to the government’s practical use of drone technology by designing and building a firefighting drone for Ajman Civil Defence that can provide support in rescue missions.

Two drones have been patrolling Abu Dhabi’s ports since June while ‘Eye in the Sky’ technology is also being utilised to monitor the flamingo population at the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve.

More recently, drone technology is being sought to replace satellites with the first test flight of a high-altitude aerial drone carried out successfully in September by the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST).

A federal law, expected this year, is being drafted by the General Civil Aviation Authority to license the use of drones in UAE airspace.

tsubaihi@thenational.ae

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