Drones or crewless aerial vehicles (UAV) are used to take still images or capture videos from the sky. UAVs can be used for surveillance to gather information about specific individuals, groups or locations. Drones are efficiently used for gathering information because of the small size and flight capabilities, which enables it to capture information from a distance at high altitudes. Authorities have a much greater reach in terms of surveillance through the use of drones as opposed to relying on a person with a camera or recorder, the drone's camera lens provides a first-person view (FPV) of what is being surveilled. The authorities in India are getting more sophisticated and modern by using drones for law enforcement purposes and management of streets and cities. Recently, law enforcement in India uncovered an illegal gambling den while using drone surveillance and patrolling the sky in search of citizens who were not adhering to the lockdown rules in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.
As legal land-based casinos around India have been forced to close and no longer offer their regular customers a means to play, people need to find different ways of playing. Either illegally, offline or digitally through casino sites where they can play with dealers in real-time. Most people around India who like to play casino games have turned to online casinos, and it has been widely reported that online gambling has seen a surge due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Visiting casinos digitally is not enough for everyone as some aspects of the real-life experience of gambling can't be captured online. For many gamblers, the activity is of both entertainment and social nature and particularly the social part of gambling is difficult to capture online as a person is usually playing from their laptop or mobile device from the isolation of their home.
A group of 13 individuals wanted to gamble desperately and defied the lockdown rules in the process. The incident happened in the city of Karnal in the state of Haryana. The group of people were gambling on the rooftop of one of the city's buildings. An activity which is illegal in India. Little did they suspect that the eyes of the authorities were watching them from above. Karnal law enforcement was able to spot the illegal gambling activities as drones were patrolling the skies. The perpetrators were later apprehended by local police and are awaiting prosecution.
While drones won't be used routinely to detect illegal gambling on rooftops, it's an incident which demonstrates the effectiveness of drone surveillance in general. Fast-forward a couple of years, and we are likely to see drones patrolling the skies regularly to uphold law and order in India.