About Crowded Space DronesCrowded Space Drones was established by its director, Andrew McQuillan. They're based in Northern Ireland, with permissions to operate in the UK, USA and across Europe. They also hold some exemptions in these areas due to their unique drone flight requirements. The team utilise drones for crowd and event management and filming, helping increase safety at events by analysing aerial videos for real-time responses to the changing conditions. This data, along with close communication with ground teams, event organisers and security, allows the team to identify potential incidents and act before they happen. In addition to event management, Crowded Space Drones also offer drone detection services for events. This allows them to track down rogue drones flying too close or in restricted areas, helping prevent issues occurring. Find out what Andrew said about their work in our interview below. [caption id="attachment_12519" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Crowded Space Drones with a DJI M210[/caption]
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Heliguy Insider InterviewBelow is the Heliguy Insider interview with Andrew McQuillan from Crowded Space Drones. We asked him about his use of drones for crowd and event management and how they can assist within this industry. Can you tell us about Crowded Space Drones? Crowded Space Drones specialise in drone use near crowds, hence our name! We are privileged to work for many government agencies, local authorities, Live Nation, Cream, Festival Public, AEG, Goldenvoice, Premier League football teams, BBC, ITV, Sky and many more. We have a team spread around the UK with primary offices in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Central London. We fly across the UK & Ireland, Europe and USA. How do you think drones can help increase safety at events? Drones are firmly a difficult problem for event organisers but also part of a solution to a completely different problem! On one hand, we are finding a lot of illegal use of drones flying near events and crowded places. Whilst on the other, we have seen their use save lives in crowded situations by allowing the organisers and/or public safety agencies to prevent incidents before they happen. [caption id="attachment_12520" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Crowded Space Drones Event[/caption] Can you tell us about what you did before flying drones? I worked extensively in crowd management and film security. The reason I actually got into drones was due to paparazzi using them to film our sets when I was in charge of security for Game of Thrones, which is mainly filmed in Northern Ireland. This gave me a significant knowledge of the law given we have several arrests for illegal flying. I realised the benefits drones can potentially offer for public and crowd safety. I always have been involved in a hobby level in aviation, so this was a natural progression of that also. What’s the most beneficial bit of kit to you? Anything that makes our crew safer when flying. The current setup we have for the DJI M210 is perfect. It reduces the burden on the crew, freeing up their time to ensure flight safety and monitor the surroundings. There are several useful features, such as the transponder for receiving manned aircraft, which are tools I did not expect to see for 5-10 years on commercially available drones. [caption id="attachment_12521" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Andrew from Crowded Space Drones[/caption] How do you think drones compare to traditional methods of security? They are complementary and only serve to enhance traditional methods. The clients we work for love the view drones can give them above an event. Managing large crowds is very complex and you have to be able to predict their next moves before they do to ensure they do not become crushed or trapped. So, whilst the drone gives us that view, you need to then interpret what you are seeing and provide tangible results. What do you think of the regulations surrounding drones? I would describe them as the government doing their best with older legislation that occurred prior to drones as we now know them existing in the current volume. We are worried about EASA regulations, which may or may not be adopted in the UK, as they have the potential to make it legal to fly drones nearer large crowds than is currently lawful. This presents a possible massive challenge to the public. Are the regulations limiting to your work? No, we specialise in flying near crowds and if anything, regulations are helping us prove to clients how safe our flight operations are. We also work internationally in countries such as the USA whose regulations are similarly beneficial to us. [caption id="attachment_12522" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Crowded Space Drones Event at Anfield[/caption]
Read some of Heliguy Insider's previous interviews on our blog here.
SummaryThe use of drones in the crowd and event management sector is having a clear benefit to the industry. Drones complement existing methods, increasing safety and allowing adaptability to deal with real-time occurrences when flown by specialist teams such as Crowded Space Drone. Although they can be used as a solution for events, flying drones illegally is clearly introducing new problems that also need to be tackled. Make sure you're flying your drone in authorised areas only with the landowner's permission and any applicable permissions have been gained for commercial flight.
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