The Eye in the Sky
Say goodbye to the chopper, say hello to the drones. If you live in LA imagine waking up one day and there’s no ghetto bird in sight, what would you think? The police are on strike right? You’ve been hearing that familiar chopper noise all your life, and suddenly; silence. What was once a conspiracy theory is now an admitted fact? Civilian drones are coming to a city near you.
The military drones were so successful in operations overseas that the jump domestically was inevitable. Michael C. Kostelnik, a retired Air Force general who heads the office that supervises the drones, said “Predators (drones) are flown in many areas around the country, not only for federal operations, but also for state and local enforcement and emergency responders in time of crisis”. The demand for drones in the US is at its peak, millions of dollars are being flushed by the government for drone usage and research.
So what are the advantages of the drone? Stealth factor is probably the biggest component, they have the latest radar and electro optical/infrared sensors, it is controlled and monitored by a ground controller and it’s designed for long endurance, high-altitude surveillance. Some drones also feature a facial recognition data, soft-biometrics, and also spots “adversarial intent”. They also can be equipped with classic non-lethal weapons like Tasers, rubber bullets, pepper spray, ultrasonic sounds.
There are various types of Drones in the market or being researched, Miami-Dade county police has finalized a deal to buy a drone called the T-Hawk micro drone. It’s purposefully used for surveillance and capturing images. The Predator-B drone has been used for border patrols, and most recently to nab a family in North Dakota who allegedly belonged to a sovereign citizen movement, an anti-government group that the FBI considers extremist and violent. The most intriguing drones has to be the Nano-drones, they are built to mimic nature itself. These drones have been commissioned and will be advertised in the near future, they have been design to look like insects, birds, and plants. Some of the designs are maple seed drone, sparrow drone, dragonfly drones, and housefly drone. A California company AeroEnviroment Inc. backed by pentagon research program DARPA, has revealed a spy drone that mimics a hummingbird, it’s is capable to produce images, and relay communication from one point to another.
There was a time where movies like Minority Report, Eagle Eye and Aeon Flux were just science fiction, but now it all seems too real. Maybe the ghetto bird won’t disappear after all; they’ll just be smaller and smarter.