Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG 2015

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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68 unmanned systems inside   September/October 2015 AIR/LAND LAW ENFORCEMENT Photo courtesy of Michigan State Police Department The Michigan State Police Department fies the SkyRanger from Aeryon. The MSP recently received authorization from the FAA to fy their UAS statewide, the frst authorization of its kind. the scene quickly and have a defined search area. Eight hours after someone goes missing is too late. For a UAS to have any chance of finding someone, the search should be limited to no more than a quarter section of land, Green said. The amount of data that comes in during a search and rescue mission also presents a chal- lenge, Miller said. He recently used the Dragan- flyer to search for a missing 65 year old woman. While the UAS covered a much larger distance than rescuers could by foot, he remembers watch- ing eight hours of footage and wondering if he somehow missed her. They ended up finding her on foot the next day. "We're getting video in real time, and we're watching video looking for the subject. We're in- undated with video, and sometimes you have an uneasiness that you have so much data that you can't process it," Miller said. "We don't need to re- duce the data, but we need more help processing it. That's the next step. The industry has the data collection piece down. The next step is getting more help going through that information." Other Uses The applications for UAS in law enforcement seem to be endless, and Rogers said MSP has flown UAS in more than 20 missions since they began operations in February. Beyond crime scene and collision reconstruc- tion, those missions included fire scenes, a house explosion on the lake and capturing photos of the damage a tornado left behind. "We used manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft to document the tornado's path of destruction," Rog- ers said. "The manned aircraft gave us a lot of photos and videos of the entire path, and the UAS came into play by giving us more detailed photos closer to the buildings so we could examine the damage." He can see the MSP deploying UAS for that type of natural disaster mission again, and said it also would be useful during a hazmat incident or a train derailment. The Challenges Beyond waiting for official regulations from the FAA, public perception is another big challenge law Privacy concerns Many citizens think law enforcement offcials want to use "drones" to spy on them, but that isn't why agencies are fying UAS. Deploying UAS gives them access to aerial images and 3-D maps they've never had before, making them more effective and improving public safety. To fy a UAS anywhere near a private citizen's home, they would have to get a search warrant, said Ben Miller of the Mesa County Sheriff's Offce. Offcers using this technology should spend time educating their communities about the capabilities and the benefts they bring to a variety of applications.

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