An unusual partnership. The widely renowned consumer drone company DJI has teamed up with a manufacturer of electric shock guns (e.g. Taser). Of all the partners DJI could have, the USA gun manufacturing company wouldn’t be the first to cross my mind. However, it’s happening.
What Are These Two Global Companies Up to?
So what are the two companies designing? Yes, you guessed it, a cop drone. The goal is to produce highly efficient surveillance drones to the U.S. police department. The project is named Axon Air. Supposedly, the drone will be connected to ‘Evidence.com’, Axon’s own cloud-based data management system. For example, all the footage Axon records from its body cameras (another product in their portfolio) is uploaded to ‘Evidence.com’.
The goal is to enhance the U.S. police ability to respond to emergencies and consequently protect the people. In fact, Axon is already advertising their new product and pitching it to identities. They call it the UAV program for public safety, backed by the Axon Network.
From what we have gathered, there are currently 2 UAV models being used, DJI Phantom 4 Pro and DJI Matrice 210. Through the official Axon Air page, identities interested in the surveillance drone are able to contact the sales department of Axon. Of course these drones are far from being your average drone under $200. Normally, Matrice 210 sells for $7,999 and the Phantom 4 Pro for $1,299.
What Are the Benefits of Having Unmanned Air Surveillance?
The company advertises Axon Air as being able to:
- Search and rescue
- Traffic accident reconstruction
- Crowd monitoring
- Pursuits and building clearings
- Natural disaster responses
- Crime scene analysis
- Next generation evidence collection
Such capabilities would represent a big assistance to the law enforcement on the ground. The question is: who will pilot these drones? At the moment, it is obvious police officers do not have the expertise to deal with UAVs. However, if Axon Air program produces positive results, it will surely mean some police department will be tasked to adapt to the use of this new technology.
Other Companies Are Also Trying to Combine Drones and Surveillance
It is not the first time a company is using drone technology to perform air surveillance. Dubai police department had already partner with the company HoverSurf to manufacture a drone aimed at patrolling. However, it is not unmanned. It’s a different type of drone that requires first person control, like a motorcycle. The project is still a prototype.
A Controversial Topic
While all of this may sound interesting to some, to many it represents a great concern. Civil liberties organizations have expressed their concerns. Mainly because of privacy, as many worry at what drones may record while in the pursuit of a suspect. There’s a bit of a “sci-fi taboo” that there will be eyes in the sky recording all our movements.
What is your opinion? Should the police department be allowed to use UAVs to keep public safety even if that leads to privacy concerns? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below!
Guestpost by Julio Ventura owner and main content writer at BuyBestQuadCopter.
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