Effective use of Drones

How can a prepper use a drone?

I gave it some thought and came up with a few specific situations where having a drone on your side would be handy.  Most of these center around bug in scenarios as no one is going to want to haul around a power source or copter when bugging out.  In particular, using your drone to patrol or inspect your perimeter or the surrounding area would be a huge advantage to have.

Note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive overview of drone technology or all of the models that are available.  But, if you are planning on bugging in, it may be worth giving a drone some thought.

Defending your Perimeter 
Your first line of defense in protecting your premises will be to build a perimeter security system that will alert you to the presence of trespassers and help you to prepare for any conflict – providing you with the upper hand defending your home.
In addition to this, having a drone on hand to inspect damage or investigate a disturbance would be a major advantage. While the use of drone technology for surveillance dates back to WWI, only recently has it become accessible for private use. With fitted cameras, sensors, and state-of-the-art flight capabilities, drones are showing that their usefulness extends well beyond simply serving as a hobby for aerial enthusiasts and photographers.
​Drone with Taser
So what is a drone?
Any unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is considered a drone. The majority of commercial drones are multirotors, with the most popular being quadrocopters (4 rotors). Most modern drones can be fitted with a camera to provide the operator with a bird’s eye view of the flight path, and some modern commercial drones come equipped with cameras already.
Drones are not merely military devices that function as insanely fun toys for the masses. They also have practical commercial applications including monitoring livestock, pipeline security, road patrol, search and rescue, wildfire mapping, videography and anti-piracy. As drones have the ability to pursue a manually-operated or automated flight pattern, they make ideal tools for homeowners to safely surveil their property without putting themselves in harm’s way.

Additionally, drones can be fitted with a variety of supplementary features including speakers, tasers, mace, and infrared or night vision cameras. For some models, flight paths can be monitored through smartphone and tablet apps.

Benefits of perimeter security 

.​​​Effective perimeter security allows you to monitor what’s happening around your property from the comfort of your home or shelter and provides you with advance warning of any trespassers, giving you the upper hand.
Depending on the cause and length of your bug in situation, your property may become a target for other survivors, desperate to take your supplies by any means possible. When determining your security needs, consider your location in respect to its proximity to civilization and roadways, as the more accessible you are to others, the more of a target you become.

Other factors to consider when planning your perimeter security include the following:

Is there limited visibility caused by terrain or structures?

Do you have an expansive property that can be easily approached from many directions?

Are you located near a major roadway where travelers might have to abandon vehicles and continue on foot?

If you are bugging-in in a suburban setting, are your neighbors close by?

If you are bugging-in in an urban setting, how is your visibility of the area surrounding your building?
Why Use a Drone For Perimeter Security?
In terms of perimeter security, drones provide several advantages over mounted cameras or simply patrolling the property yourself, including mobile video surveillance, remote control and stealth.

Mobile Video Surveillance
Unlike a mounted camera, which is fixed on a designated area, drones are mobile and provide an unlimited field of view. The real-time video surveillance capabilities of a drone provide the ability to immediately assess whether a disturbance is a threat or welcome members of your team.

Remote Control
The ability to operate and control the drone from a distance not only keeps the operator out of harm’s way, but also facilitates the surveillance of large areas in a short amount of time and of areas that would be treacherous to travel by foot.

Drones are generally very quiet and have long range view capabilities. Additionally, drones cannot be avoided or tampered with as can a mounted camera. One drawback to drones is that, yes, they can be shot down by an intruder. But most people would much rather lose their drone than their own life.
?So what kind of a drone is a prepper to buy
You can find drones that sell for as little as $50, but if you want a durable, top-rated model, you’ll need to spend at least $1,000 or more. Drones can be purchased ready to fly or in kits that you assemble. If you plan on adding several of your own features, a do-it-yourself drone is probably the best option; in fact, several brands offer a modular design that adapts well to add-ons.

When purchasing your drone, consider the following:
Ability to live stream (first person view) vs. recording you can watch later – this decision comes down to personal preference and circumstances

Look for drones with the following features:
Gimbal to stabilize video
HD cameras
Long stream broadcast distance (more than 100 yards)

There are a variety of different features that can be added to drones, the best ones for you depend entirely on your situation and particular circumstances. For instance, drones come with varying levels of user control, with the most extreme being completely autonomous drones that patrol without any human interference.
Depending on your needs, an autonomous device may be ideal or you may want some level of manual operation to check on specific disturbances.
When choosing a drone for perimeter defense, here are some useful features you should consider:

So what should you look for in a perimeter defense drone?

Detection software, which can be installed to recognize perimeter breaches and immediately send the drone to the vicinity of the breach. Additionally, this software can be synched with an invisible infrared geo-fence, motion detectors, or seismic sensors, that can all be positioned in key locations around your property.
Flight time charge, this is a crucial factor as you want to ensure the desired flight path can be accomplished with a single charge.

Safety features
, including proximity sensors that will detect and avoid objects in the flight path, emergency landing gear in the event of mechanical failure, and a ‘return-to-base’ function in the event the battery is low or the connection with the controller is lost.
Video, this can be displayed on the controller, streamed to a smartphone or tablet, or connected via video goggles for a first-hand, virtual reality experience. If you won’t be actively monitoring the flight path, you can also have the data sent to a DVR for viewing at another time.
So which Drone should I buy?

DJI Phantom 2 Vision +

Ready to fly and easy to operate out of box
• Flight time of 15-20 minutes
• Three-axis camera stabilization 
• Shoots full HD video
• Controller is smartphone compatible for viewing video and adjusting camera settings 

Parrot Bebop

Flight time is approximately 10 minutes
• Can be controlled with an iphone or android device; alternatively, a SkyController can be purchased for $400 providing joystick controls, extended range, and HDMI output
• 14 megapixel camera with 180 field of view fisheye lens that automatically stabilizes the image, removes the fisheye effect, and sends image straight to a smartphone
• Records up to 8GB of 1080p video directly on the device 

3D Robotics x8

​Offers 15 minutes of flight time
• 8 motors with 11” propellers
• Can lift 2 lbs. and has a sturdy design
• Modular platform allows for customizing; does not come with camera or gimbal, but these can be added
• “Follow me” gps tracking feature links to your smartphone

Hubspan Spyhawk

Spy plane design
• Front-facing camera • Built in LCD display on the controller
• Three-axis flight stabilization

In conclusion...

Drones can be an excellent choice for perimeter security but involve a significant financial investment and require a decent amount of electrical and aerodynamical knowledge to maintain. Drones are also highly dependent on having a readily available electrical power source, an option that may not always present itself in every bug-in scenario. If you are considering using a drone for perimeter security, it is also important to keep an eye on the development of FAA regulations, which are only in the early stages.
The technology to remotely surveil your property and protect your family and supplies from intruders is here now, and it will only continue to improve. If you have a large property and are planning to bug in, a drone may be a smart investment. Always remember, when it comes to survival, chance favors the well-prepared.