JO 2024 : l’utilisation massive des drones, et après ?


Next summer, France will host the 33rd edition of the Summer Olympic Games. A global event, with technological means implemented on a large scale: among them drones, which will allow the organizers to manage different aspects of this competition, organized every four years.

Organizing the Olympic Games is an immense responsibility for the host country, in terms of preparation, management and security. Both for those who organize and for those who participate, the athletes.

For the organizers, setting up hundreds of events in a small area, in and around a city (some events will take place far from Paris, like the surfing organized in Tahiti), is a geographical challenge, but also a security challenge, as millions of people will come to Paris in July 2024 to attend one or more events. The Olympic village, which must accommodate the majority of the 15,000 athletes over nearly 50 hectares, is also a huge project in terms of security.

For all these projects, the use of drones is now essential. But regulated. The Constitutional Council validated the possibility of using images provided by drones, to combat “risks of breach of public order”. This an article of lawa mandatory prerequisite for the implementation of drone surveillance, takes the form of an experiment, the end date of which is known (June 31, 2025), but which raised the voice of many organizations against itfearful about potential attacks on individual freedoms.

This being said, the main legal advance consists of ratifying the use of drones in public spaces, which already constitutes a major shift for these technologies, until now confined to private spaces.

THE objectives related to the use of dronesbut also cameras installed almost everywhere in urban centers, are numerous:

This technological shift in terms of security management is correlated with the use of other technologies, first and foremost artificial intelligence, which makes it possible to process large quantities of data and extract relevant information according to the desired objectives. The article of law relating to the use of images captured by cameras or drones currently excludes the use of facial recognition.

We must also be prepared that drones can be used maliciously. The use of drones to carry out coordinated attacks is increasingly growing. We can also see it regularly through the information released on Russia’s war in Ukraine. The threat of a drone attack is taken very seriously by the organizers, who have notably entrusted the task of preventing this danger to a French company, EXAVISION. The latter develops thermal cameras that can counter malicious drones.

Finally, drones will also have a key role in the broadcasting of sporting events, by offering images with a perspective and an angle impossible to achieve with traditional cameras. The use of drones to film events is already common in many sports, but will be generalized for the next Olympic Games, and associated with the recording made by cameras on the ground, will allow viewers to follow the events via the angle of their choice, in real life, or in virtual reality.

To summarize, the next Olympic Games will allow the generalization of new technologies, including drones: the popularity and size of the event will allow these uses to be extended, temporarily a priori.

By Pierre Thouverez


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