Flying robots to patrol Belfast (yes, really)

This is the dawning of the age of the robots. From BBC News, Nov. 16:

Police in Northern Ireland consider using mini drones
Police aerial surveillance in Northern Ireland may be about to take on a whole new form—one that belongs more to the world of sci-fi and the future.

The PSNI [Police Service of Northern Ireland] is considering the use of mini drones to combat crime and the dissident republican threat.

They are not the large missile carrying drones used by the US military.

It is understood the models being considered are small enough to fit into a rucksack and can be assembled and deployed within minutes.

The manufacturers of one of these unmanned aerial vehicles, known by the military as UAVs, say it snaps together as easily as children’s building blocks.

It might look like a toy—but it’s anything but.

It is fitted with a camera that automatically tracks a subject, can relay live pictures back to the operator, has a three kilometre range and flies at ground speeds of 50 kilometres an hour.

The UAVs are described as game changing technology – policing from the sky. Indeed, one source told me they could act as modern day watch towers.

Security sources say border areas like south Armagh are where the use of the technology would be most valuable because they can cover large areas at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter…

The drones, or UAVs, used by law enforcement agencies around the world, have already been deployed by some UK police forces.

River crash
But there have been problems. A drone used by police in Liverpool crashed into the river Mersey. In addition there were red faces when police discovered they hadn’t obtained the necessary CAA [Civil Aviation Authority] permission.

See our last posts on Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, the surveillance state, the rule of the robots and the attack of the drones.

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