Model Airplane Designed To Help Police Shows Promise
On Feb. 3, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department presented a four-pound, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called SkySeer that the department will test for the next two months. The small, self-piloted surveillance aircraft with a six-and-a-half foot wingspan is equipped with a miniscule camera that can help deputies monitor buildings, search for lost campers, or track escaping thieves, according to sheriff’s officials.
The SkySeer is being donated by Chang Industry for field testing. Sheriff’s Cmdr. Sid Heal, head of the department’s technology exploration unit, noted that the SkySeer is portable and quiet and can be used at night or in foggy conditions, unlike helicopters. It can also be used to check the roofs of structures or look through windows even in risky situations such as a hostage-taking.
A 20-pound computer base station is used to control the aircraft, which can glide for roughly an hour on a single battery charge.
According to Heal, the department is expected to get a discount on the estimated $30,000 cost of the SkySeer in exchange for the field testing and feedback. He forecasted that the department might acquire the UAVs for all of its stations in a few years.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Copley News Service (02/03/06); Hewitt, Alison Shackelford .