31 Aug 2011
Law enforcement in British Columbia, Canada, are currently testing an aerial drone that can provide surveillance with regards to crash sites and crime scenes – effectively replacing much of the work done by manned helicopters. The remote controlled drone is called the Draganflyer X6, which costs $30,000 and weighs just one kilogram. The drone will carry either a digital still camera or a high-definition video camera for providing real-time imagery for law enforcement.
In the U.S., the prospect of law enforcement using drones has raised many privacy concerns. In addition, the use of drones in the states requires law enforcement to receive “emergency authorization” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Because of safety concerns, the FAA only occasionally grants permission to use unmanned aerial drones by law enforcement.
Though by 2013, the FAA expects to have new rules in place that would allow police across the country to fly unarmed drones up to 400 feet above the ground — high enough for them to be mostly invisible.