Eye in the sky II

DroneRemember back in April when Xeni Jardin reported on "Day to Day" and at BoingBoing on the sheriff's department's new "unmanned aerial vehicle" or drone? Well, the BBC has caught up with the story—and the Drudge Report has caught up with that one. The news is that SkySeer is expected to go into service in the skies above Los Angeles County later this month, says the Beeb:

At 250 feet above the ground, it can clear a 25-storey building and is almost invisible.

The Sheriff's Department is keen to start using the drone in situations where conventional crime-fighting is either impractical or too expensive.

At a cost of approximately $25,000 - $30,000 (13,400 - 16,000), the UAV is considerably cheaper than a helicopter. But the device's practical applications are generating the most excitement amongst officers.

"It provides several things that we can't get other ways," says Commander Charles Heal, head of the LASD's technology exploration project.

The UAV's ability to hover in virtual silence over an accident or crime scene, without any risk to a pilot, provides both a tactical and economic advantage.

All sounds useful in theory. In practice, the LASD only has one of the craft and it will get its first test with the SWAT team.


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