I am currently writing a master’s thesis concerning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in domestic law enforcement. The American public is accustomed to hearing of the successful use of UAVs in the war on terror that is currently being waged in Afghanistan, but unlike the crowded environment of U.S. cities, there is little problem with crowded airspace in Afghanistan. UAVs are currently enjoying a modicum of success patrolling a narrow space along the border between Mexico and the U.S. in order to help stop the flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S. (To view a video showing the UAV tracking of illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. please go to the following link:
As a result of the various successes of UAVs on the border, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are clamoring to obtain funding to purchase UAVs for tracking criminals and assisting ground law enforcement personnel in their capture.
My paper deals with the feasibility of using UAVs in the crowded environment of U.S. cities, the human factors issues and the education required for ground control pilots. Current information reveals that the accident rate is significantly higher with UAVs than with manned aircraft such as helicopters. The higher accident rate is largely due to human factors such as mistakes by the ground control pilots. UAVs require a ground support crew of approximately 20 personnel including the pilot so there is significant cost involved.
I will be publishing a draft of the introduction to the paper to this forum soon. I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, or whatever. That is, assuming anyone ever reads this blog (LOL).