Riga and Turin to test and introduce automated drone technology for improved public safety
To promote public and environmental safety while equipping the Riga Municipal Police with the latest technology, Riga, together with the municipality of Turin and the support of telecommunications companies, is participating in the European Union pilot project “5G4LIVES”. The pilot sites are the popular recreational areas of Riga – Vecāķi and Kīšezers beaches, where the latest 5G technologies will be installed and automated drone flights will be introduced to the municipal police.
The project kick-off workshop took place at Riga City Hall on 29 and 30 January, where project participants and experts discussed the progress of the project, issues related to optimal emergency management of the municipal police and data-driven forecasting through automatic risk zone assessment.
“Smart technologies and 5G connectivity are a strategically important part of Riga’s long-term development plan. 5G can be used in mobility, healthcare, education, arts, science and security. Connectivity is as important today as electricity was a century ago and the City of Riga is working to bridge the digital divide so that all citizens can benefit from these developments. Security is one of Riga’s priorities, so we particularly appreciate that the 5G project directly expands the operational capabilities of the Riga Municipal Police,” said Linda Ozola, Deputy Chairperson of the Riga City Council, at the launch of the project.
The Riga Municipal Police already uses drones in its operational work, for example to control public transport lanes, to detect uncleared building roofs, or to search for people, but they also have drawbacks – they require a police officer to operate them and their battery power is not suitable for long and prolonged overflights. Andrejs Aronovs, Deputy Chief of Riga Municipal Police, explains. We are talking about drones that can patrol in an automated way for long periods of time to record offences and monitor order also in wider areas, for example on the water bodies of Riga.”
The project will purchase four drones for automated flights with thermal and infrared cameras for the Riga Municipal Police, providing two drones in each project area. These drones will be used for life-saving in bathing areas, control of people on ice, control of poaching and shipping, animal surveillance, public order monitoring, detection of environmental pollution, etc., as well as for other functions of the municipal police. The introduction of automated drones will increase the efficiency of the municipal police and public safety, as their operation will relieve the workload of police officers-pilots and information from the drone will be transmitted via smart solutions.
The project is being implemented by the Riga City Council, Riga Municipal Police, together with the City of Turin, the Polytechnic University of Turin and the telecommunications companies “Latvijas Mobilais telefons”, “Windtre” (Italy), “Electronic communication office of Latvia” and the open innovation movement “Vefresh”.
The overall duration of the project is 3 years. The project “5G systems development for protecting lives and public health in Riga – 5G4LIVES” is co-funded by the Connecting Europe Facility Digital Programme of the European Union. The project will run for a total of 3 years and the total cost of the project in Riga and Turin is expected to reach €3,826,000. The project implementation costs in Riga Municipality will amount to € 922 000. Of the total costs, 691.5 thousand are financed by the European Union and 230.5 thousand by the Riga Municipality.
Grant agreement Nr. 101133716