MEDIA RELEASE 17 December 2014
Could micro drones have assisted in the Sydney Siege? A Sydney-based specialist consultancy organisation believes that micro unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) may assist police in gaining greater intelligence into hostage situations such as this week’s siege in Sydney.
Mr Jim Coyne, a senior associate with Sydney-based UAS International and who is an international expert in Unmanned Aircraft System technology said: “Small UAVs have been used successfully by Queensland police in hostage situations with positive outcomes”. In one siege about 18 months ago a UAV was used by police to gain footage through the kitchen window of what was happening inside a house during an armed domestic standoff. In the United States micro UAS have been used in more than ten separate hostage situations. Also the Australian Federal Police have used drones to investigate major crimes including search for bodies and missing persons.
Mr Coyne is a world renowned expert on non-military applications of UAVs or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). Mr Coyne previously chaired the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) study group into UAS certification. “Micro UAV technology is developing at a rate faster than society or our legal systems can cope with them” Mr Coyne said.
Apart from the benefit that micro UAVs can provide in hostage situations Mr Coyne said there are also criminal and anti social applications. It is not difficult to envisage the use of micro UAVs in corporate espionage where fly-sized devices can attach onto people’s attire and be used to gain access to proceedings during board meetings. “Imagine if a micro UAV were able to attain information, for example, of the decision of the Reserve Bank to alter interest rates well before the information was released publicly” Mr Coyne stated.
Mr Coyne said there are also significant privacy issues that uncontrolled use of UAS may present. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs report “Eyes in the sky” revealed short comings with the current laws relating air safety and privacy related issues. This report was released in July this year and has recommended sweeping changes that need to be made to address the issues.
UAS International is hosting a major training and educational seminar early next year in Melbourne to raise awareness of UAS applications and addressing some of the major issues confronting society with their increase availability and usage.
For further information contact media spokesperson at UAS International on (02) 9980 7792