Thermal imaging by UAVs is immensely practical for use in agriculture and land surveying. Its cheap, easy to install and can provide extensive data in real-time. The simplicity of the process has enabled a new method for drug dealers in Shropshire, in the UK, to acquire marijuana.
As anyone who ever watched the show Weeds can tell you, maintaining a grow-operation in a house takes time, money and special equipment. Among the required equipment for growing pot indoors are heat lamps which give off an incredibly large amount of -you guessed it- heat.
See where this is going?
Innovative, tech-savvy thieves in the UK can buy drones for as little as £60, equip it with some kind of infrared or thermal imaging detector and just fly it around town, while watching the camera feed on an iPad. Then its just a matter of waiting until the proprietor of the home steps out and breaking in and helping yourself to their product. And thieves are likely to get away with it because no one goes to the cops to report a theft from their personal high-droponic operation.
An unnamed 33-year-old veteran of this new business, told the Halesowen News:
“It is not like I’m using my drone to see if people have nice televisions. I am just after drugs to steal and sell, if you break the law then you enter me and my drone’s world…Half the time we don’t even need to use violence to get the crop. Growing cannabis has gone mainstream and the people growing it are not gangsters, especially in places like [the outskirts of rural Shropshire].”
In response, Labour MP Tom Watson, who is the chairman of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, said, ‘This is remarkable and shows the proliferation of drone technology which can be used for both good and bad…As a society we will be dealing with the impact of drones on our laws and regulations for years to come and it is time the Government started listening about privacy concerns about the misuse of drones.”
This is indeed excellent ammunition for both UK and US advocates of drone regulation in the name of privacy, but you have to give these crooks credit for thinking outside the box.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com