High-tech drones have gone mainstream. Hobbyists play with toy versions, photographers use them to get cameras to previously-unattainable vantage points, Amazon is looking to fly them to your front door. And now, some police forces in Ontario are using them to help investigate incidents and clear traffic accident sites quicker.
As reported by the Toronto Star, the OPP and Halton Regional police are two forces that have recently purchased drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles in police-speak) and already put them to work to get traffic moving after serious accidents.
Deploying an UAV can substantially reduce the time it takes to map accident, from an hour to two hours, down to 15 minutes – on average resulting in a 45-minute to 1-hour time savings.
“Because scenes can be so big, we can map the whole scene,” Brad Muir ofr OPP’s highway safety division, told the newspaper. “It gives us an objective, digital record of the scene at that time.”
He says with these new aerial perspectives, an officer can pull up an image during an accident investigation which may not have otherwise been thought of at the time.
“We try to deploy them as much as possible because we know the impact of a highway closure,” said Muir, but added they aren’t used at night or in bad weather.
Andy Olesen, co-ordinator of Halton police’s explosive disposal unit and search incident response team, said that the use of drones can replace the rental of a helicopter or calling the fire department out with an aerial ladder.
He added that an UAV has infrared capability which can also help track down a missing person or suspect hiding in large area.
The drones are made by Aeryon Labs Inc. in a small facility in north Waterloo. The high-end versions are used by military and police forces.
Full story here.