How custom payloads aid police drone operations
With higher load capacity drones available, vendors have introduced components that allow a UAV to safely and discreetly deliver needed gear
The following is excerpted from a comprehensive report on the advanced features, capabilities and use cases of police drones. Click here to read the report in its entirety.
The first generation of drones carried a camera and that was about it. Soon, agencies discovered that they could use Velcro or tape to allow drones to carry lightweight items such as a tourniquet, hostage phone, keys or a spare magazine and ammunition. Several aftermarket remote carry-and-drop attachments for UAVs now are available.
DJI’s Mavic 2 Enterprise Duo was one of the earliest drones to offer thermal imaging and interchangeable payloads including spotlights and a speaker. The current generation offers additional options including centimeter-accuracy positioning.
As higher load capacity drones started to come online, companies introduced strong, yet lightweight, components that allow a UAV to safely and discreetly deliver needed gear. Highnovate’s drone delivery solutions accurately can place climbing/rappelling hooks that weigh less than a pound but can support up to 2,800 pounds.
The FLIR Osprey package delivery payload is a simple, flexible and reliable way to attach and carry almost any object weighing up to 2 kg and drop it remotely using four downward-facing cameras to provide visibility to localize the drop site.
One of the more interesting custom payloads is part of the USA-built BRINC LEMUR UAV itself – a cellphone with its own number – which lets crisis negotiators talk to suspects or hostages.
BRINC was founded by teenager Blake Resnick after leaving the engineering program at Northwestern University at the age of 14. Having interned at DJI, McLaren and Tesla, he decided that he wanted to build an almost-indestructible self-righting drone.
The result is the LEMUR, designed from the ground up to aid tactical teams in barricade, hostage and active shooter situations through precision indoor flight – which uses another unique payload – a motorized breaching tool designed to smash tempered, automotive, and most residential glass – as seen in this video.
Instead of investing in autonomous flight capabilities, the nearly indestructible $8,999 LEMUR is designed for operators to fly into hard-to-navigate locations where GPS is only a dream. Unlike most other drones, the LEMUR can be flown into a building and scooted underneath a piece of furniture to watch and listen. Beefed-up radios allow the LEMUR to be controlled and to transmit audio and video even through thick concrete walls – such as a subway or sewer system.
Build a police drone program toolkit with these Police1 resources:
- Download our 2021 guide to drones in law enforcement eBook
- Implement the drone procurement strategies outlined in our How to Buy Guide
- Note the advanced features and capabilities available on the newest drones
- Stay current on FAA regulations, LE drone program best practices and free resources
- Listen to the following Policing Matters podcast on how one agency is using drones as first responders: