Drones with spotlights and cameras to be trialled at UoN to keep women safe at night

The scheme will cost £500,000

A new scheme using drones to help keep women safe at night is set to be trialled on a UoN campus.

Women who fear being attacked will be able to use a mobile app to call a drone with a spotlight and thermal cameras to warn off any potential stalker or sex attacker.

The drones would be able to reach any location within their catchment area in less than four minutes, its developers say.

Richard Gill, the founder of Drone Defence, is aiming to launch a £500,000 system that uses artificial intelligence to track vulnerable women via signals from their phones. The drones, which cost £35,000 each, will be monitored by a pilot who will take over if needed.

With this system, staff or students who feel unsafe will be able to call a drone, that would be able to arrive within four minutes, using the Aeroguard app. On arrival, the drone would start recording and shine a large spotlight on the supposed attacker in order to deter them.

The drones, its developers say, have multiple advantages compared to police helicopters. They say drones would be cheaper to run, costing £100 an hour in comparison to £3,200 an hour for a helicopter, and would also be quicker to reach its location, arriving within four minutes compared to 20 minutes.

It is hoped the drones could protect vulnerable people who fear they may be being followed by a potential stalker or sex attacker.

Following the trial, the developers’ goal is to provide a service that can be launched in cities across the UK and make women feel safer at night.

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