'Bat radar' for Dubai school buses from next year
Abu Dhabi Police drones monitor traffic and catch offenders
Three drones linked to a police car and a main command centre will be used to warn of tailbacks, accidents and nab motorists who don’t pay parking fees.
The system was used during the recent National Day celebrations to monitor traffic flow and accidents by the Department of Traffic.
Computers fitted into an off-road pickup truck analyse the data and video sent back from the drones that are manned by officers in a Ford F150 Lariat FX4 when it is deployed to busy intersections. The feed is simultaneously transmitted to the capital’s main control room.
Licence plates of parked vehicles are also scanned to check if parking fees are paid with instant fines issued to motorists who violate parking rules.
“In some places we don’t have coverage of CCTV cameras so we use drones to support us, with live streaming to the control room,” said Sultan Haimd Al Menhali, senior traffic system engineer with the Department of Transport, speaking at the Gulf Traffic conference in Dubai on Monday.
“It is like a small operation room inside the car. We go on the spot near junctions for traffic count and study of traffic management in peak hours.
"It is available 24 hours so we do planned work like traffic studies or monitoring traffic flow during events, check if parking fees are being paid and also unplanned work like accidents where the drones show full 360-degree coverage. Then the control room knows what action to take and where.”
Called ‘Al Garnas’, to describe young falcons with excellent vision to spot prey from the skies, the smart system was launched in September and will be used during New Year’s celebrations in the capital.
Another system called ‘Bat radar’ is a small camera that will be fitted next year on the yellow and red ‘Stop’ sign that school buses use to warn vehicles to keep a safe distance.
Developed by the Dubai Police, the camera will instantly transmit data and video to the control room about vehicles that get too close to the school bus, speed past ignoring the ‘stop’ signal, said Mohammed Akil, an officer with the Dubai Police traffic department.
The technology will later be used on fences in dangerous zones to spot vehicles that use the hard shoulder.
A similar system is being used to pinpoint vehicles that take the disabled parking slots in malls and shopping centres.