Railways deploys ‘Ninjas’ for surveillance

Drones to watch over stations and tracks.

Published - August 19, 2020 03:02 am IST - NEW DELHI

Tamil Nadu, Chennai, 03/07/2020 : COVID-19 :As part of its initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Chennai Corporation is going to deploy drones to spray organic disinfectant across the chennai city, picture taken at Thiru.Vi.Ka.Nagar on Friday, during the 101 day of nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of deadly novel coronavirus pandemic. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

Tamil Nadu, Chennai, 03/07/2020 : COVID-19 :As part of its initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Chennai Corporation is going to deploy drones to spray organic disinfectant across the chennai city, picture taken at Thiru.Vi.Ka.Nagar on Friday, during the 101 day of nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of deadly novel coronavirus pandemic. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam / The Hindu

The Railways on Tuesday said it has introduced a drone-based surveillance system to enhance security at railway stations, tracks and workshops.

“Eye in the Sky: Improving Surveillance System, Railways has recently procured Ninja Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAV]. With real-time tracking, video streaming & automatic fail safe mode, the drones will enhance monitoring of the railway assets and ensure additional safety for passengers,” Railways Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted.

Training given

An official statement said that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) had planned extensive use of drones for security purpose and had so far procured nine drones at a cost of ₹31.87 lakh at South Eastern Railway, Central Railway, Modern Coaching Factory, Rae Bareli and South Western Railway.

Additionally, 17 more drones are planned for purchase at an estimated ₹97.52 lakh. In total, 19 RPF personnel have been trained in operation and maintenance of drones, of which four have received licences for flying drones.

“Drone surveillance technology has emerged as an important and cost effective tool for security surveillance over large areas with limited manpower,” the statement said, adding that the purpose of deploying the drones is “to provide a force multiplier and aid to the effectiveness of the security personnel deployed”.

The Ninja UAV procured by Railways will be able to help inspect safety of railway assets, yards, workshops and car sheds. “It can be used to launch surveillance on criminal and anti-social activities like gambling, throwing of garbage, hawking etc in Railway premises. It may be deployed for analysis of data collected which may prove to be extremely useful in vulnerable sections for safe operations of trains,” the statement said.

In addition, these drones can also be utilised at disaster sites for helping in rescue, recovery, restoration and coordinating efforts of various agencies as well as mapping of railway assets to assess encroachments.

“A drone camera can cover a large area which requires 8-10 RPF personnel,” the statement added.

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