Docked Drones: The Future of Commercial Security

Harnessing the Power of DJI’s Dock 2 for Remote Operations
June 3, 2024 by
Docked Drones: The Future of Commercial Security
Adam Hoing






Remote piloting and autonomous flight of drones and robotics is a transformative shift in industry, reshaping business operations through innovation worldwide. Docked drones, also known as drone-in-a-box (DIAB) systems, are the tip of the spear for remote sUAS operations around the world. With the ability to launch, fly, and monitor remotely, docked drone solutions like DJI’s Dock 2 provide seamless and scalable integrations for a myriad of industries.


From Agriculture, Commercial Security, Remote Inspection, Public Safety, and more, enterprise businesses across sectors and the globe are breaking the constraints of traditional on-site work practices.


For example, land management entities used to be reliant on manual flights and on-site inspections to monitor vegetation encroachment, crop health, etc. Now docked drones equipped with advanced sensors can fly synchronously repeatable autonomous flights, gathering data cyclically. With these consistent data sets, land managers gain insights into their fields' health to make data-driven decisions for optimizing crop yields and resource allocation.


Charting Commercial Security Challenges

Similarly, traditional security methods often fall short of addressing the dynamic threats businesses face today. From limited coverage to manual intervention and delayed response times, organizations encounter various obstacles in safeguarding their assets and conducting remote inspections effectively. Industrial sites, such as manufacturing plants and distribution centers, present unique challenges due to their expansive footprint and potential safety risks for personnel.


The adoption of remote piloting technology has revolutionized how businesses protect their assets and mitigate security risks. With the DJI Dock 2 and other innovative applications, security teams can deploy drones rapidly to monitor large areas, track suspicious activities, and respond to emergencies in real time. In this blog, we will unpack a commercial security proof of concept initiative demonstrating how this proactive approach to security management enhances asset protection and improves overall operational efficiency.


Pioneering Innovation Through Partnerships

In collaboration with an American manufacturer in Detroit, Michigan, commercial security industry leaders Premier Security, DJI, and remote operations pioneers Unmanned Vehicle Technologies (UVT) spearheaded a four-week proof of concept operation leveraging DJI’s Dock 2 for commercial security applications.  

Blueprint To Progress: Mission Components


Hardware and Software

The DJI Dock 2, powered by DJI Flight Hub 2 and integrated with the DJI Matrice 3TD aircraft specifically designed for compatibility with the Dock 2, served as the cornerstone of this mission. This comprehensive suite of solutions was carefully selected for its tailored applicability to the security industry's unique requirements. Equipped with three advanced onboard payloads—a 48MP wide-angle camera, 12MP zoom camera, and high-resolution 640x512 thermal camera—the Matrice 3TD ensured meticulous surveillance capabilities, providing operators with complete situational awareness.


The combination of DJI Dock 2 and Matrice 3TD offered unparalleled surveillance capabilities, enabling detailed monitoring of assets, perimeters, and property. The drone's ability to quick deploy, autonomously launch, and execute preplanned missions facilitated continuous aerial patrolling, ensuring comprehensive coverage of the designated area. When direct intervention was needed, operators were able to seamlessly obtain control of the aircraft with the built-in one-step manual control function, easily flying to the area of interest with the one-click fly-to function. 


Engineered with a cradled landing platform, the dock provided a secure and stable landing zone for the Matrice 3TD upon completion of its mission. This feature ensured the aircraft's safety and facilitated quick and effortless returns for critical battery recharging while minimizing downtime.

Data Security and Sharing

Given the sensitive nature of the data captured during this surveillance operation, the integration with AWS Secure Cloud provided a robust solution for the swift and secure sharing of mission data. This seamless integration enabled operators to share sensitive information with command at the Premier Security Global Security Operations Center (GSOC) and stakeholders without compromising data integrity or risking unauthorized access.

Compliance

Flights were conducted under FAA regulations, including waiver 14 CFR Part 107W-2024-00330 for Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations. With meticulous adherence to compliance standards, the proof of concept demonstrates the feasibility and safety of utilizing drone technology for commercial security applications.


Procedures

Pilots staffed by Premier Security and trained by UVT with Part 107 RPIC licenses worked in close collaboration with monitoring personnel at GSOC in Burton, Michigan. 


Operating in two shifts, the pilots systematically adhered to standard operating procedures (SOP’s) starting each day by performing pre-flight checklists, including, but not limited to, checking weather forecasts for UAV flights, communication and visual inspection checks of all equipment with on-site visual observers, and battery management to ensure seamless operations. 


The Remote Pilots in Command (RPIC’s) conducted routine preprogrammed flights around the perimeter of the target operational area. By combining autonomous and manual control, the pilots were able to detect and respond to suspicious activities, quickly relaying real-time data to ground control units for further investigation while providing live-streamed overwatch back to GSOC command.


The Path Forward

The collaborative effort between the manufacturer, Premier Security, DJI, and Unmanned Vehicle Technologies demonstrated the immense potential of docked drone solutions in revolutionizing commercial security operations to safeguard assets, mitigate security risks, and enhance operational efficiency.


As we look toward the future, it’s evident that the adoption of docked drone applications will continue to expand across various industries, offering unparalleled surveillance and situational awareness capabilities for proactive security management. 


The success of this proof-of-concept initiative serves as a testament to the transformative power of drone technology and the collaboration of industry leaders. By leveraging innovative technology and fostering strategic partnerships, organizations can stay ahead of evolving threats, protect their interests, and ensure the safety of their assets and personnel. Embracing the possibilities of docked drone technology paves the way for a safer, more secure future where businesses can thrive with confidence in an ever-changing landscape of security challenges.


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