Complex Made Simple

Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority rolls-out drones for security surveillance

Move in Line with Vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to Make Dubai the World’s Smartest City

Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), in collaboration with Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) today announced the introduction of the smart security surveillance program at the integrated free zone technology park.

DSO’s initiative to implement drones for coordinating the security and surveillance functions at the hi-tech park articulates the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the emirate into the world’s smartest city.

The Drones for Security Surveillance initiative will follow the Remote Piloted Aerial Vehicles guidelines issued by the DCAA. Operated by an authorized team of patrol personnel, the machines, equipped with a high resolution camera and a super-sensitivity microphone, will have the ability to record audio and video in real time. Additionally, the camera will have the option of capturing flawless still photographs of a specific scene or location.

The drone operators are equipped with a Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) system, which allows for SMS exchange between handsets – handset-to-handset calls and locating of handsets through GPS – all the while ensuring complete confidentiality in communication as a result of the system’s built-in end-to-end encryption mechanism.

Commenting on the development, Engineer Khalil Odeh Shalan, Vice President of Operation and Facilities at DSOA, said: “The ‘Drones for Security Surveillance’ initiative is directly aligned with the smart city vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to drive Dubai’s transformation into the smartest city in the world.

“The use of this new technology will significantly enhance the security team’s response time and help us monitor the premises with ease. We have conducted thorough research and due diligence before introducing these machines and would like to reassure our residents and business partners that the new system will not compromise the privacy of residential or commercial properties at DSO. Authorization of drone operations is currently limited to a select few from the security team at DSO. Presently, we have one drone patrolling the premises. We plan to add four more by the end of 2015.”

He added: “The surveillance by drones will also add value to the existing smart city infrastructure that we have previously introduced at DSO, such as smart waste bins, smart subsurface irrigation system, and electronic vehicles charging station, among others. We commend the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority’s proactive approach in enabling us to leverage drones as part of our wider security surveillance line-up for the benefit of the DSO community.”

Khalid Al Arif, Director of Standards and Regulations Department at DCAA, said: “We have been following the use of drones around the world for safety, security and surveillance purposes with a great deal of interest since they were first launched, with the view to implementing the system for the benefit of the Emirate of Dubai and its residents. Civil safety and security is of utmost importance to us. The use of drones and the related air support they provide can be a distinct advantage in protecting the public from threats and in successfully helping to identify and prevent crimes.”

For his part, Michael Rudolph, Head of Aviation Regulations and Safety Section at DCAA, said: “After examining DSO’s application and learning about the significant potential of its concept, we have granted the necessary approvals for the project. We hope more organizations in the emirate come forward with similar innovative proposals, because drones most definitely make up a big part of the next generation of aviation technology.”

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority is a key entity responsible for maintaining the safety and security of Dubai’s airspace through organizing all air traffic within the jurisdiction and routinely conducting civil aviation related activities. The Authority is also responsible for the optimal use of the airspace in the emirate of Dubai and oversees the prevention of any activity that may constitute a danger to the aircrafts or airports within the city.

A wholly-owned entity of the government of Dubai, DSO operates as a free zone technology park for large enterprises, medium and small companies looking to set up their offices in Dubai.