Coral Gables, FL is running a pilot program using drones to monitor large crowds and respond to emergency calls in advance of first responders’ arrival.
The city initially tested the use of drones during its Fourth of July celebration, where a crowd of 40,000 spectators was expected. The drones were used to monitor crowds, traffic, and any incidents that occured.
Following that success, the city now has a two-month pilot program with two drones that are dispatched from strategic points throughout the city to specific incidents. In the interests of privacy, the drones are not used for patrolling the streets. The drones feature spotlights, infrared cameras which allow them to function in the dark, and speakers to assist officers on route to the scene and potentially answer vital questions. Coral Gables Fire Rescue will also be able to use the drones to assess situations they respond to.
Once an emergency call is received, the security services company Bond deploys a drone to the scene to quickly assess the situation. Bond Founder and CEO Doron Kempel states that its Air Guardian drone is “faster, safer, least intrusive and more economical than any other way to get to the scene of action,” and is able to respond to a call within a 12-square-mile radius within two to three minutes.
Police Chief Ed Hudak said, “We can basically put eyes and ears on anything in the city of Coral Gables within two to three minutes and give that information to officers on the street before they even get there.”