Best Practices

400 hours operating drones to improve the management of public space. Service architecture, first impressions and results



Use of drone technology to capture images and process them in real time. Different use cases are proposed in different verticals: management of capacity on beaches, management of large events, detection of pathologies in heritage buildings, inspection of civil works in public spaces, communication campaigns and documentation of major urban transformations


This is a pilot project that makes a drone operator available to the different areas of the city council in addition to a real-time image processing system, based on artificial intelligence, which allows estimating the number of people given an image. The project has allowed, first, to validate the legal viability of the operation of a drone in different areas of the city, especially taking into account the fact that Barcelona is located in controlled airspace and under the area of influence of an international airport, a regional airport and 11 heliports. The project has also made it possible to validate the legal viability of taking images in public spaces in relation to the legal framework of the General Data Protection Law. Finally, it is a centralized contract, that is, several areas of the city council participate at different levels, even with different legal personalities.

The project in numbers:
- More than 400 flight hours.
- 6 different applications
- Urban operations in line of sight
- Operations on beaches beyond line of sight (Extended Visual Line of Sight)
- Counting accuracy higher than 95%
- Time to obtain the capacity estimate: Less than 5 minutes


- Viability of the drone operation surpassed
- Feasibility of obtaining the image and its subsequent processing (both tasks in real time) exceeded
- Legal viability from the point of view of data protection exceeded
- High satisfaction with the results by the different participating areas

of work

Working Group 3

Artificial intelligence



Jordi Cirera

Marc Perez

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