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Drone to be used against dangerous drivers in London

9 Jul 2019

Drone to be used against dangerous drivers in London

The roads in London could be set to become safer places, thanks to a drone that will be monitoring them from high in the air.

According to Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police, the unmanned aerial vehicle is to be put to work looking for dangerous or speeding vehicles in the nation's capital as part of the first initiative of its kind in the UK.

The aim is not to keep tabs on drivers who are going a few miles an hour above the speed limit, but to deter and catch those who are putting people's lives at risk through dangerous manoeuvres.

Originally developed for tactical surveillance by the military, the Aeryon Skyranger drone has previously been deployed in war zones in the Middle East. In London, it will be used to alert police officers on the ground whenever it sees someone driving in a hazardous fashion so they can locate it and intervene.

Use will begin later this month and is to cover all main routes coming into and out of London.

Head of the Met's roads and traffic policing unit Detective Superintendent Andy Cox said: "Deterrence is sometimes best achieved through intense enforcement and that's what this capability enables."

The move is part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan's Vision Zero initiative, which aims to completely eliminate all deaths on London's roads by 2041. So far in 2019, more than 60 people have already lost their lives on its highways, suggesting stricter safety measures are necessary.

Use of drones on the roads might be a new thing in the UK, but it has already been applied in the French city of Bordeaux since 2017 to target dangerous drivers.

The devices locate vehicles that are being driven dangerously, such as cars that are tailgating or overtaking unnecessarily, then pass on the data to traffic police on the ground.

Interventions can then take place, with the French government saying up to 20 vehicles an hour are caught in this way and that it intends to expand the initiative to more parts of the country.