Police drones, essentially little flying cameras, are somewhat creepy and rife with fairly serious privacy issues. Just because you’re out in public, do you have the right to be filmed? What happens to the footage? What happens when technologies such as facial recognition make it possible to follow your movements?
On the other hand, there are upsides, as a Canadian driver lost in the woods found out.
Essentially, if the Royal Canadian Mounted Police hadn’t had the drone, a driver who climbed out of a single-vehicle rollover and wandered into the woods would have been dead by dawn:
At 03:00, Cpl. Green launched the Dragan Flyer X4-ES (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – UAV) equipped with a FLIR. Once the UAV was in the air a search was initiated in the area of the last known location of the driver… Cpl. Green directed Vonda Fire Department members towards the first heat signature located in the trees 200 meters from the last known GPS location. Fire /Rescue members located the driver at this first location, curled up in a ball at the base of a tree next to snow bank. … Without the UAV and FLIR, searchers would not have been able to locate the driver until daylight.
If this sounds familiar, a similar method was used to find one of the Boston Marathon bombers.
True, this doesn’t justify having drones constantly in the air, but on the other hand, it’s good to understand that, provided they’re used properly, they can help save lives.
Just as long as they don’t arm them or anything, we should be OK. You guys aren’t armed the robots, right? Guys? Guys?
I want more like this!
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