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Drone Forensics

Drone Forensics: A Judicial Tool for the New Era

Drone forensics is a new form of digital evidence collection. Drones provide high-definition images for traffic departments and crime scene departments to record outdoor scenes, and create 2D/3D model maps through measurement collection and mapping to restore the real situation at the scene.

The application of drones in evidence collection is gradually changing the traditional methods of investigation and evidence collection, improving efficiency and accuracy, and reducing manpower and time costs.

Application of drones in evidence collection

Drone forensics relies on high-definition drone cameras to record the scene on the one hand, and on the other hand, the performance of the drone and the sensors it carries are also crucial.

Deploy the Autel Evo II Pro V3 drone before entering the scene to accurately capture data without touching the scene itself. The Autel EVO II Dual 640T V3 drone is equipped with thermal imaging and visible light/RGB cameras, which can also record real and clear scene conditions in night environments and maintain low noise and quiet operation.

The Autel EVO II series drones allow investigators to record scenes in high definition and reality. Drones equipped with RTK can also be used to create orthophoto maps to obtain accurate measurements of objects, areas and evidence in the digital field.

Crime scene investigation:

drone forensics for Crime scene investigation

Drones can quickly and safely investigate crime scenes, especially in dangerous or difficult-to-reach areas. With high-resolution cameras and sensors, drones can take detailed photos and videos, record every detail of the scene, and provide strong support for subsequent analysis and evidence collection.

Traffic accident investigation:

Drone Forensics for Traffic accident investigation

After a traffic accident occurs, drones can quickly take off, record the situation at the scene and the location of the vehicle, and take photos and videos from multiple angles. These drone forensics images data can not only help restore the process of the accident, but also provide important evidence for insurance claims and legal proceedings.

Environmental crime evidence collection:

Drone Forensics for environmental crime evidence collection

When investigating environmental crimes such as illegal dumping of waste, illegal mining, and illegal deforestation, drones forensics can cover a wide area, obtain high-definition images and data, help law enforcement agencies quickly locate the crime site, and collect solid evidence.

Search and rescue:

Drone Forensics for Search and rescue

In search and rescue operations after missing persons or natural disasters, drones can quickly cover large areas, use infrared sensors and thermal imaging technology to find traces of missing persons, and provide valuable information for rescue work.

Advantages of Drone Forensics

High efficiency:

Drones can quickly arrive at the scene and complete large-scale surveys and data collection in a short period of time, greatly improving work efficiency.

Strong safety:

In dangerous environments (such as fire and explosion sites), drones can replace manpower for surveys, reducing the risks of investigators.

Multi-angle and all-round perspectives:

Drones forensics can take photos and videos from the air and from multiple angles to obtain comprehensive evidence materials, which help to form a more complete and objective case analysis.

Real-time transmission:

Modern drones have real-time data transmission capabilities, which can transmit images and data from the scene back to the command center in real time, providing a basis for timely decision-making.

Actual case analysis of drone evidence collection

Case 1: Investigation of major traffic accidents

In a major traffic accident in a certain city, the police used drones to quickly survey the scene of the accident. The drone took photos and videos of the accident scene from multiple angles, recording the location of the vehicle, traces on the road surface, and the surrounding environment. By analyzing the data obtained by the drone, the police successfully restored the process of the accident and determined the responsibility for the accident.

Investigation of major traffic accidents

Case 2: Evidence collection of illegal mining activities

In a remote mountainous area, the law enforcement department received a report that someone was illegally mining. Due to the complex terrain, it was difficult for law enforcement officers to enter on foot. So they used drones to conduct a comprehensive survey of the area. The high-definition photos and videos taken by the drone clearly recorded the mining equipment and mining traces, providing conclusive evidence for the elimination of illegal mining activities.

Evidence collection of illegal mining activities

Laws and regulations for drone forensics

The commercial operation of drones involves beyond visual range operations. Although forensic drones are mostly used in security departments, it is still necessary to pay attention to whether they comply with FAA and FCC regulations and whether to apply for Part 107 exemptions, such as:

  • Sample 107.25 Waiver Application to operate a drone from a moving vehicle or aircraft.
  • Sample 107.31 Beyond Line of Sight Waiver Application
  • Sample 107.33 Visual Observer Waiver Application
  • Sample 107.35 Waiver Application (Swarming Drones)
  • Sample 107.51(a) Waiver Application for Operating 100+ MPH
  • Sample 107.51(b) Waiver Application to Fly Over 400ft AGL
  • Sample 107.51(c) Waiver Application to Fly in Reduced Visibility
  • Sample 107.51(d) Waiver Application (Flying Close to Clouds)

Future Outlook of Drone Forensics

With the continuous advancement of drone technology, its application in evidence collection will be more extensive and in-depth. Future evidence collection drones will have more powerful functions, such as more accurate positioning, longer flight time, higher image resolution, and more intelligent data analysis capabilities.

In addition, the combination of drones with artificial intelligence and big data technology will further improve their efficiency and accuracy in evidence collection. For example, by automatically identifying and analyzing key elements in images, drones can process large amounts of data more quickly and generate detailed reports, providing more accurate support for law enforcement and judicial work.


As an emerging technical tool, drones have shown great potential and advantages in the application of evidence collection. Drone forensics not only improves work efficiency, reduces manpower and time costs, but also greatly improves the safety and accuracy of evidence collection.

With the continuous development of technology, the application of drones in the judicial and publice safety field will be more extensive and in-depth, providing strong technical support for modern justice.

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