As technology advances (and it always will), the application scenarios of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) or drones are also rapidly expanding. Unfortunately, the flight time of ordinary consumer drones is relatively short, and the drone operators must have a pilot’s license. Also, the use of drones in the police or emergency services comes up against strict rules.
Recently, public safety technology company Axon proposed Fotokite’s tethered UAS solution, which is very suitable for use in police inspections and other occasions. Both the companies are partnered to provide their products and services as part of the Axon Air program.
The Axon Air program includes the Fotokite Sigma UAS, Fotokite’s situational awareness software tools, and the tools needed to view, manage, and share video evidence.
Fotokite’s fully autonomous tethered solution, developed specifically for public safety, does not need any piloting throughout an operation up to 150 feet above ground level. Also, actively tethered UAS are permitted to be used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) without additional waivers or pilot license requirements.
The tethered drone can be powered by a large-capacity battery (or power socket) placed on the ground and transmit real-time high-definition video back to the ground using onboard cameras. With a full weather-proof rating and power and data delivery over the tether, Fotokite Sigma tethered drone can fly in harsh weather conditions and stay airborne beyond 24 hours of continuous flight compared to the shorter flight times of free-flying drones.
“We’re thrilled to partner exclusively with Axon in delivering a purpose-built tool to first responders in the public safety community. Our actively tethered UAS technology will directly serve Axon’s customers with the integrated product they need,” says Fotokite CEO, Christopher McCall. “Whether the use case is traffic control, vehicular accident scene management, search, and rescue or routine patrol, users can simply press one button to receive a live-streamed bird’s eye view of an incident.”
Although the price has not yet been announced, the drones are expected to be available to law enforcement customers in the US and Canada exclusively through the Axon Air program beginning in 2021.