June 14, 2017
It’s only a matter of weeks since we introduced drone technology to assist recovery efforts for stolen plant machinery, vehicles or other assets. But it’s been one of our busiest periods ever due to the sheer interest in drones from both existing and potential customers. Not only that, but our drones have made an immediate impact in helping us make recoveries which may otherwise have proved challenging.
AMI tracking devices perform the vitally important function of locating and directing us towards stolen assets using state-of-the-art technology, but drones can offer even further insight and information into the nature of areas that stolen machinery is being stored. Our drones work from remote or secure locations up to 7km away whilst streaming HD video footage to the AMI finder team. The drones can fly at an altitude of 400ft and are virtually silent whilst searching the area.
We often find that stolen machinery or vehicles are stored on potentially volatile sites. The Police frequently need additional verification or evidence before they can enter a site to recover the equipment, so the use of drones allows us to take footage of stolen construction equipment hidden in obscure locations and also to survey the surrounding area.
A case over the last few days demonstrates just how drones can prove to be invaluable in asset recoveries. One of our customers contacted us to say that a Kubota Mini Excavator had been stolen from a school. Fortunately, the machine was fitted with our AT5 tracking device so we were able to pick up a GPS signal indicating that the machine was in a transportation yard in Iver, Buckinghamshire. Our finder team were immediately dispatched to the location and it transpired that the site was vast with several cars, vans, lorries, shipping containers and outbuildings located on it.
This is where one of our drones came into its own. We immediately carried out a drone survey and activated a RF (Radio Frequency) beacon on the AT5 tracking unit which quickly established that the machine was located in a shipping container secreted in the corner of the yard. This allowed us to tell Thames Valley Police exactly where the stolen machine was upon their arrival.
Once the shipping container was opened, it transpired that it didn’t just contain the Kubota Mini Excavator. It also contained a 1.5T Hitachi Excavator owned by a landscape garden company. Even though this second machine was not protected with an anti-theft tracking device, thanks to the AMI tracking system and the effective use of a drone, this machine was also recovered by Thames Valley Police and returned to its rightful owner.