Friday, January 27, 2012

Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 Used To Fly Drones in Miami!

Although most police departments utilize their Panasonic Toughbooks as MDTs, or mobile data terminals, the Miami-Dade Police Department has found a different use for them.  In a first of it's kind crime fighting tool, the Miami-Dade Police department is utilizing an eye-in the sky from a drone not too different than those currently being used for surveillance by the US military.  Although it is similar in concept to the drones used by the military, it is not built like a miniature plane or designed to fly long distances.  The drone, or micro air vehicle, can hover in mid-air with a camera. It is controlled through navigation on the touchscreen of a Panasonic Toughbook CF-19.

 Although use of the drone has sparked some fears from local residents about being spied on by Big Brother, that is not the intention of the Miami-Dade Police Department.  The drone will not be in the air on a constant bases monitoring neighborhoods.  It will only be placed into the air during highly dangerous situations, such as responding to barricaded subjects or during a tactic crisis.  The concept being utilizing the drone is to give officer a clearer picture of the situation, allowing them to see risks that they cannot see from the ground.

The Miami-Dade Police Department has two drones that they received almost entirely from a federal grant.  They are waiting on final FAA approval to be able to start using the drones in appropriate situations.

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