Aimed mostly at detecting reckless driving on Spain’s busiest roads this summer, drones will take flight to keep an eye on traffic in an attempt to keep vulnerable road users (noted as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians) safe from those using phones while driving, driving without due care & attention, and not wearing seatbelts – among other offences.
Operating at a height of 120 metres with a range of between 1-2 km, each drone equipped with a high-def camera can be in the air for up to 40 minutes before returning to the pilot & camera operator team to either swap batteries or going elsewhere. This 2 man squad is joined by a member of the Civil Guard in the event the driver receives the penalty on the spot.
This year 39 drones will take to the skies, 20 more than in 2020, in a scheme that has been running since 2018. In this time the DGT (General Directorate of Traffic) has accumulated over 500 flight hours, monitored over 55,000 vehicles and detected more than 600 infractions.
Among the most common offences is the incorrect use of seat belts or ‘child restraint systems’ (15.9% of infractions), using a phone behind the wheel (12.5%) & overtaking cyclists without leaving the correct space (4%).
Drones will be available for the Spanish police in Madrid (with 15), Coruña, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Seville, Malaga and Valencia (with 2 each), Cantabria, Asturias and Extremadura (2 units each) and Balearic and Canary Islands (3 each).
You can even watch a compilation video of some of the offences recorded on the official site, with a link found at the bottom. Some amusing ones on there – like a van playing a game of joust with a road sign. Yes, seriously.
Can we expect to see drones in the UK skies?
Well, you already can. Drones are already used as an effective tool for the UK police force to locate illegal off-road riders, and drone squads are becoming an invaluable part of equipment to use where a helicopter may prove far too expensive.
They may have their limitations (battery life being the standard electric problem), but the positives outweigh the negatives by some number. Perhaps Honda will take a note here also, with their potential drone-equipped motorcycle…
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