With the increase of drones being used to capture live event footage and for security, event organizers must discuss drone safety at the onset of planning, to ensure drone security measures are implemented. Event personnel must plan for rogue or malicious use of drones when they consider how to protect their security operations, attendees, spectators and athletes.
Political and government events require an advanced level of security. The 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum took place in Davos, Switzerland, and security organizers integrated a drone defense system to protect the attendees, which included world leaders in business, media, politics and the arts. Police in Canton of Graubünden, where the forum was held, were granted invaluable time to prepare for a drone threat and deploy a defense measure.
Spectators at celebrations, parades and events should enjoy the party on the ground, and not be concerned with the threats in the sky. The U.S. National Basketball Association champions, the Golden State Warriors, held their celebratory parade in Oakland, California in June 2017. Over 75 drone incidents, or the times a drone was detected within the protected airspace, were recorded, despite the City of Oakland’s declaration that the area was a “no fly zone.” Cities who host events must also consider the safety of landowners, tenants, building managers, and offices that may be enjoying the view of a parade or race from their home, but also be in the line of sight of a drone, without their consent to film.
Incidents such as those recorded at the Warriors parade are showing a startling trend of drones being above crowded areas. As U.S. federal regulators continue to research the impact of drones on crowds, it’s up to spectators and security personnel to assess the risk of physical injury a rogue drone poses, and decide if proactive detection will support event security objectives. Public event coordinators experienced multiple drone incidents firsthand in the first half of 2017, and were involved with the following activities:
Drone crashes into bike racer: A drone flying over cyclists during the Golden State Race Series in Rancho Cordova, Calif. hit a tree, crashing into a rider’s front wheel. The cyclist was able to bike a bit further down the road, until the drone locked up the front wheel, causing the biker to fly over the handlebars.
Drone agitates horse during race, injuring spectators: A horse frightened by a low-flying drone ran into a large crowd at a race in Colorado. The havoc caused three injuries and two trips to the hospital - one for a woman who suffered a gash to her head and another who suffered a hip injury.
Man convicted in drone crash that injured woman during Seattle’s Pride Parade: A woman was knocked unconscious when she was struck a small drone as she watched the annual parade in 2015. The pilot was found guilty of reckless endangerment, and sentenced to jail time.
Report published, “The ASSURE UAS Ground Collision Severity Evaluation Final Report”: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commissioned research to discuss how blunt force trauma, penetrating injuries, and lacerations are the most significant threats to the public and crews operating Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) platforms.
Boston Marathon Adds Drones in New Security Push: Race organizers with the 2017 Boston Marathon integrated camera-equipped drones into their security program, allowing police to scan nearby crowds with long-distance and infrared zoom, and helping to thwart low-tech terror attacks.
An airspace security platform that detects, classifies and mitigates all drone threats.