Drone lights and thermal imaging camera used for search [Case Study]

This case study shows how combining drone lighting and thermal imaging provides an advantage to law enforcement to search for and apprehend suspects.

Scenario

It is late summer in the midwest, the sun is setting, and the corn has grown to its peak height of 9-12 ft tall. An arson suspect flees from a fire he just started and headed into nearby cornfields to escape authorities. The high corn allows the suspect to hide out of sight to evade capture. 

Tools

 

Corn field
Tall corn provides excellent cover for a fleeing suspect

 

Solution

The police deploy a drone with a thermal imaging camera to search for the suspect's heat signature in the cornfield. The search is at night, so the drone is also equipped with 2 drone lights. The lights serve 3 purposes:

  1. They provide a searchlight for the officers on the ground to see the fugitive.
  2. Once the drone has located the fugitive and has a position, the drone lights provide a beacon to guide the officers to where the fugitive is located.
  3. The drone with lights provides the officers a beacon light to safely guide them back out of the cornfield once the fugitive is apprehended.

 

Learn more and visit our Complete Guide to Drone Lights

The Setup

One light is attached to each prop arm of the drone with mounts (two lights total).

 

FoxFury Rugo R1S mounted to the arm of a DJI Inspire
FoxFury Rugo R1S mounted to the arm of a DJI Inspire

 

Once deployed, the drone identifies the heat signature of the suspect, and an officer begins his foot pursuit into the field. The officer uses the drone above to track his movements and follow the general direction of the suspect.

A heat signature of 3 people in a cornfield through a thermal camera
A heat signature of 3 people in a cornfield through a thermal camera

 

A heat signature of a person in a cornfield through a thermal camera
A heat signature of a person in a cornfield through a thermal camera

The thermal camera provides a high overwatch of the area to keep a visual on the suspect. Monitoring the thermal image, incident command provides real time intel for the officers on the ground such as the heading of the suspect or any hazards or obstacles to be aware of.

 

Drone equipped with 2 FoxFury Rugo R1S lights is used to show location of suspect in corn field
Drone equipped with 2 FoxFury Rugo R1S lights is used to show location of suspect in corn field

When the officer is in position to apprehend the suspect, the lights on the drone provide overhead lighting that assists the officer in seeing the suspect in the surrounding corn. Once the suspect is captured, the officer uses the drone as a beacon to lead them out of the field.

The drone equipped with FoxFury Rugo R1S lights acts as a beacon for law enforcement in the high corn
The drone equipped with FoxFury Rugo R1S lights acts as a beacon for law enforcement in the high corn
Law enforcement is able to apprehend suspect in corn field
Law enforcement is able to apprehend suspect

The lighting on the drone serves as both a search spotlight and as a beacon for officers on scene. By combining drone, thermal camera and lighting technologies, law enforcement gain a significant advantage over the suspect.

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