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The U.K. Is Using Drones to Prosecute Small-Boat Migrant Smugglers


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A lighted drone catching a late-night boatload of immigrants.

Drones have been used to document the crossing of 84,000 migrants from France to the U.K., the Home Office has said.

Credit: AFP

The U.K. Home Office has used drones from Portugal-based Tekever Ltd. since late 2019 to monitor large areas of the English Channel.

The Home Office said the high-resolution, livestreamed video footage captured by the unmanned aerial vehicles has been used to convict dozens of migrant smugglers.

Tekever's Ricardo Mendes said the government has extended its contract, with the company's drones covering more territory and equipped with sensors to collect richer data.

The drones can fly autonomously in predetermined patterns and gather data using radar, video, and infrared imagery, with a human pilot overseeing each flight remotely.

Tekever also offers a drone with the ability to drop a life raft.

The Home Office said 84,000 migrants were documented by the drones crossing the Channel over the last three years.

From Bloomberg
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