FAA approval for Chula Vista Police Department to fly beyond-visual-line-of-sight
The Chula Vista Police Department has received approval from the FAA to fly its semi-autonomous Skydio 2 drones beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS). It is the first police department in the nation to receive a BVLOS approval.
“We’re able to rely on [the drone’s] features alone so we can keep our eyes on the screen, which avoids us having to either watch the drone and stop watching whatever threat could be out there or tasking another officer [to spot],” said Officer Kyle Roberts with the agency, according to CBS8.
The American-made Skydio 2 drones are able to detect and avoid obstacles through a set of high-resolution cameras that are onboard the aircraft in combination with AI. This will allow the police drone pilots to easily fly the drones around buildings during day-time. The Skydio 2 requires sufficient light for its obstacle avoidance system to work and safely fly semi-autonomously.
Police officers from the Chula Vista Police Department will keep the drones in the trunk of their cars, ready to be deployed at any time. The drones are especially useful on the eastside of the city which is out of range of the Chula Vista Police Department’s current drone fleet.
“I found myself out east at the end of a pursuit with several subjects running away from a vehicle. I was able to get the drone up in the air pretty quickly and aid officers in the search,” said Agent Jonathan Boyce, who recently became a trained pilot with the Chula Vista Police Department.
Today, we are celebrating the results of our months-long collaboration with the Chula Vista Police Department and the San Diego UAS Integration Pilot Program: a groundbreaking FAA authorization allows Chula Vista PD to fly drones in emergency scenarios just beyond line of sight. pic.twitter.com/7tw2wETi13
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