Member Discussion

Do You Think There Is A Business For CCTV Drones At The Commercial/Integrator Level?

What about DCCTVaaS? (yeah, I just made that term up.) Seriously, does it make sense to offer drone cctv services or set-up (install, mapping and scheduling for perimeter or point to point flights?)

[IPVM update: Poll added.

I think it's possible, certainly once the legal issues are worked through, allowing drones to be more broadly / freely used.

A CCTV drone would essentially be a 'super PTZ'. For a security guard, a CCTV drone could be an incredible tool. Integrate it into a VMS, etc.

IPVM drone coverage that might be of interest: Show Report: Drones + Physical Security

John there is a possibility to use drone with guidewires like at footgames as well there still are cross wind issues but could see it happening for example on car lots etc. where teh drone is triggered to alarm zone

Perhaps some of us integrators can get on state steering comittees to help author the safe use and ethics rules before people who know absolutely nothing are the only ones who are there to do it.

Do you think there is a possibility to operate a service or do you see it as only a sale and support?

I could certainly see it being a service for special events, as an example.

However, I would think traditional PTZ users, like malls or campuses, would eventually want to have their own 'CCTV drones' that they own like they do PTZs.

By the time these become more mainstream the price point is going to be less than or at least comparable to a high quality PTZ. I would for sure get my own. Landing pad on roof, program a route, hit send and repeat.

I could see this product being used. I do know that "they" are working on a technology that can actually lock in on a target and follow it around. For me, it will be helpful to determine camera position or for inspection of places to determine site conditions. Going to have to get by all the issues first.

On a similar train of thought, I've wondered if CCTV blimps might be of interest as I believe they have the ability to more easily and quietly float around in the sky. They would literally have longer up time in calm weather. Maybe the size of the airship could shelter a camera from some rain?

While blimps could not be used in windy weather, this is also true of drones although I suspect they could handle higher winds.

Out of curiosity, has anyone successfully used a drone in windy weather?

I am guessing it gets windy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or do you mean the cheap consumer type drones? I am guessing you mean the cheap ones....

Hi Ross, this thread seemed to be talking about drones that small organisations can use so my comments were assuming cheaper, consumer type drones rather than an expensive military-type drone which can indeed stay aloft for a long time.

Thanks for the clarification Luke! I figured as much, but wanted to be sure.

I heard about a project where it is already used for patrolling huge territory of a factory. One of the benefits that claimed was reached was the ability to detect an unauthorized vehicle, follow it and get its LP number.

Does any know if drone technology allows for a predetermined flight pattern? In similarity to presets on a PTZ? Maybe a good pitch for a startup venture I'll like to demo that technology. I saw a 1080P 30FPS demo recently that a surveyor was using it was quite impressive to say the least. Camera cost was around $1000.00 he mentioned.

NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: Does Any Know If Drone Technology Allows For A Predetermined Flight Pattern?

the AR Parrot does do this now

I would think more than twice before I considered selling or deploying drones for any serious work. The potential liability is huge:

Near-collisions between drones, airliners surge, new FAA reports show

A dangerous new world of drones

Increase in Drones Spotted Near Aircraft

I am thinking more of something like this something that is proven and already used extensively for movies and commercials with a proven track record.


It is important to note that a free flying drone can not take off or land in certain wind condition, which is very low. So on certain days this would require a back up security plan. Even the guided drones like those used at football games have a low wind restriction.

The next issue is with power most drones under $50K need power beyond 55 minutes so if a drone were to be used remotely for security purposes it would require a self powered docking station

the great news is that Amazon and others who have deep pockets will get the legal hurdles handled.

There is deffinently a future for it, I never thought of using them in malls…I like that idea. Wind is no longer a real concern unless its a hurricane of course. Companies like DJI and quickly adapting GPS to have the drone auto adjust for wind. The biggest limitation right now is batteries, flight time is often limited to 15-30 minuets (for small drones). DJI Inspire 1 is still in its “this is cool” stage but I can see this company or another having an impact on neighborhood watch, event security…etc. They also have a pretty cool base station app for pre determined flights. Again, its still just cool.

Malls are already suffering from a lack of shopper activity and other issues. You think people want to go shop and hang out some place that has security drones buzzing around?

I am thinking of something like a parking lot that is big and hard to monitor everything or in response to a specific issue (like someone calls in a report of an incident and the drone is used to monitor it, much like a human being in a uniform, et.c)

When palm PDA first became popular I told my friends and family that someday we would make phone calls, receive email, play games and surf the internet from a handheld color device. They all called me crazy. I have always been overly optimistic about technology. Do I really think that people will keep shopping at malls with drones buzzing around? Absolutely. Do I think malls and other venus will actually implement drones in their security plans? Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it will be sooner than you think. To me, as wireless technology and mobile power improve, its a logical step in surveillance technology.

I really have to disagree with the people who think drones will have a big future in the private commercial space.

Here's a guarantee you can take to the bank: the first time a privately operated drone kills or seriously injures someone will likely be the last time. Lawmakers will feel a tremendous amount of heat from the public on that point.

I disagree with that 100%. People are killed by private, government and corporate owned motor vehicles every day. I can still get insurance for my vehicle and no one is suggesting we stop using vehicles (other than tree hugging hippies). People die in private plane crashes every day too and we still allow airplanes to be made, sold and flown.

Sure there will be a period of working all the legalities/insurance on this out when someone is hurt or killed, but the genie is out of the bottle on drones.

Huge difference. Cars and airplanes have been around for over a century - from a time when society was far less litigous and over-concerned about dangers, real or imagined. And, except for movies like Dawn of the Dead and the like, I don't see them driving or flying around in shopping malls.

Planes and automobiles are also forms of transportation. Drones are not, unless you imagine Honey I Srunk the Kids is a documentary.

Australian triathlete injured after drone crash

Drone crashes into Virginia bull run crowd

And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Just wait until they become more ubiquitous and are flown in densely-occupied areas. There are already calls to ban or steeply regulate them. As incidents inevitably increase, those calls are likely to become an uproar.

Further down the 'iceberg'

Detailed by police officers along the New Jersey shore, 32-year-old waiter Russell J. Percenti was arrested last week for allegedly firing a shotgun at an aerial remote control “helicopter” drone flying in the vicinity of his home. According to the owner of the helicopter drone, it was being used to capture photographs of a nearby home that was currently under construction. While he was flying the drone over the unfinished home to take the photos, he heard several gunshots in the vicinity and immediately lost control of the drone.

Another one. It's just a matter of time until these are banned for unlicensed use.

You have to love the comment on the article:


Oh great. The first drone to have tasted human blood. Only a matter of time before it is self aware.

Look at this email I got today!

Yikes Ari! I don't know what's scarier, the design of that drone or the photoshopping of the home page images.

"Auto-Drone was designed from the ground up ..." I love that line.

"Auto-Drone Security ... deploys a highly visible deterrent factor ...." If that is the case, I wonder why it is only pictured in dark military green which is hard to see? Anyone for fluro pink?

Dark military green is only hard to see when the drone is on the ground, when it is at its least effective. It shows up very nicely against blue, clear sky. Of course, if you only fly it at night, it doesn't matter what color it is.

Aerohawk, more than just a 'drone', it's an Uninhabited Aerial System. (Launcher not included.)

Droning on, Canada has just passed new regulations allowing lighter-weight (<25kg) drones to operate commercially under certain conditions. At the same time, the still-in-progress FAA commercial regulations are reportedly looking a bit more restrictive.

Across the pond, beating Amazon to the punch in Germany is DHL, claiming the first regular drone delivery service: (ok, barely...)

Interested? Got the right stuff? Amazon is now hiring drone pilots...

Chinese Maker to Disable Drones From Flying Over Much of Washington, D.C.

I do believe that it is just a beginning. As soon as somebody finds out that it is easy to fly a drone with an attached explosive assembly to a crowded place or to a power plant we will face with a much larger attention to restrictive technologies, policies etc.

Yeah, everyone knows there's no way around a firmware update.

SHORAD will be the best upgrade in this case.

A swat team would be less expensive and maybe just as effective.

Fly Swat

In fact with the DJI Inspire, there is no way around the firmware update. The thing has to phone home to keep working and if you go long enough without updating the firmware, your multicopter becomes a brick. It won't fly until you update the firmware.

Many in the hobbyist arena find this aspect of the DJI Inspire troubling. Your $3500 toy will only fly if the company says it should fly.

UK should prepare for use of drones in terrorist attacks, says thinktank

It also cites a number of recent examples of unauthorised use of drones that “suggest scenarios for future lone wolf attacks”. These include:

Absolutely we are working with both aerial and land units at a basic level to understand the possibilities. There are some obstacles that need to be addressed but i see that coming soon

Safe drones designed for impact.

Yes, i definitely think there will be a business. The most straightforward solution I see is that when an event occurs, the surveillance operator will push the big red button launching their drone.

the surveillance operator will not directly "pilot" the drone, but will click to position the drone in a certain spot and otherwise it will hover autonomously at a safe altitude using GPS and other sensors as long as it can. Most multicopters are relatively good in wind due to their design and using GPS can stay quite steady.

I think the solution will really take off when the camera design can use a gimbal stabilized high-resolution wide-angle camera of 50MP or more. To me the value is that the drone can go up to 1000 or 2000 feet and just hover, and the operator can navigate and zoom in just like using Google Earth, except real time. That way suspects aren't physically being following and the multicopter isn't making a scene flying close to the ground.

When the battery is low, the drone will return to the rooftop and land. Eventually the security manager will go onto the roof, put the drone back in the box where it can charge, and close the lid.

There will be liability and legality questions to work out. There will be installation and deployment challenges to work out. But yes, I think many commercial sites with large parking lots, campuses, or generally just having lots of horizontal space will eventually have little boxes on their roof that launch an autonomous drone for live satelite-style surveillance when needed.

Ryan, I agree with you. Whether private business or law enforcement they will play a large role in the future. Drones can be dispatched to any number of crimes in progress via gps, they will not only get there faster than anything on wheels but also faster than helicopters and at a fraction of the cost.

New FAA Draft Drone Regulations inadvertently leaked to public.

Some highlights from the mostly pro-drone document:

  • The FAA will not require a commercial pilot certificate for drone operations
  • The FAA rejected onerous maintenance requirements for drones
  • The FAA will require drones to be operated within line of sight of the operator
  • Drone flights will need to take place between sunrise and sunset
  • Drone flights will need to be below 500 feet

Seen on the bulletin board of my local gas station:

I don't think they're quite ready for commercial surveillance if poor Kyle's DJI Phantom hasn't made its way home. :(

Has anyone used a drone yet to get pictures of a site for use in designing a CCTV system? You can always use Google maps, but they may be out of date, wrong season, watermarked, or low res. I saw today how easy it is to get high resolution images of a site with a "low cost" drone, nd was wondering if anyone out there has found a business model where it can be utilized.

As a side note, I heard that if you charge for the specific services of the drone, you need a commercial pilot license, thus you are charging for other services, and the drone use is "free"...

Hi Aaron, I haven't used drones but I also wonder about blimps (i.e. helium balloons). I've seen real estate agents use them to get take aerial property photos and I could imagine they might also be very good for taking low cost aerial photos of a site. Companies who advertise photographic blimp services claim blimps can be used in locations where drones are not allowed, e.g. near airports. I don't know whether a license is required for blimps but wouldn't be surprised if the requirements were less for a blimp. I also suspect the hardware and running costs would be cheaper. Maybe another member has some solid information on licensing and purchase prices and running costs of drones vs blimps.