Facial recognition drones are helping track wanted criminals in the UAE

This may sound like something straight out of an episode of Black Mirror, but police surveillance via facial recognition drones has already become a reality in the Middle East.

Police in Sharjah, the third-most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, are using drones with facial recognition technology to track wanted criminals. The law enforcement agency is leveraging a video surveillance network powered by artificial intelligence for this task, according to a report published in Gulf News today.

Here’s how the technology works: Once a felon’s photograph is fed into the AI network, facial recognition drones take to the skies and scan crowded public spaces. When a drone suspects it has spotted a target, it captures his or her images – possibly flying lower and adjusting the gimbal for a better angle.

Machine learning models then scan the images for instant analysis. If any matches are found, the ground units of the police force move in to make the arrest.