By Andrew Atkinson
Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska attended a demonstration of the operation of drones’ surveillance on Spanish roads this summer.
It is one of the most effective means of detecting the use of a mobile telephone while driving, representing 12.5% of total infractions detected with RPAS, along with incorrect use of seat belts and child restraint systems, 15, 9%; and overtaking cyclists, without respecting the minimum safety distances, 4%.
The General Directorate of Traffic has finalised the distribution throughout Spain of 39 surveillance drones, an increase of 28 in 2020, supporting 12 traffic helicopters.
The operation of the drones requires a pilot, camera operator and Civil Guard Traffic Group personnel, undertaking surveillance up to a height of 120 metres, with a range of between 1-2 km.
The Minister of the Interior attended the DGT headquarters to watch a demonstration of the Spanish manufactured drones.
Spain was the pioneer in drones’ use in traffic, inaugurated in May 2018 when used in test mode.
Since August 2019 the drones are used for the surveillance and detection of reckless driving at the wheel and for the surveillance of traffic in areas of high risk of accidents.
Drones will also be used to monitor and support regulation in operations and special events, during an increase of traffic supporting helicopters; and emergencies.
The DGT has trained 35 personnel in the piloting of drones and 60 personnel in the management of the cameras. The General Directorate of Traffic is accredited by the State Agency for Aviation Safety as an operator of remotely piloted aircraft systems.
The DGT helicopter unit is a pilot training organisation for the issuance of basic and advanced certificates for piloting drones.
Each DGT helicopter patrol based in A Coruña, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Seville, Malaga and Valencia will have two drones to carry out surveillance.
The central base in Madrid will have 15 aircraft that, in addition to flying over the roads of the Community of Madrid and Castilla la Mancha, will provide support to the rest of the provinces of the national territory.
The drones’ speed is up to 80km/h, withstanding temperatures between 20-45 degrees and have an autonomy of up to 40 minutes, a period after which the battery is changed they can resume flight immediately.
Since the commencement of drone traffic surveillance the DGT has recorded 500 flight hours, monitoring 55,000 vehicles, plus; detecting over 600 incidents.