Eyeing an upgrade to their operations, the City of Long Beach, , has applied for a grant to secure an unmanned aircraft system, specifically a $15,000 Skydio X2 Thermal drone. Triggered by the community's concerns over a month ago, Ward 6 Alderman Pete McGoey became a vocal advocate for this technological advancement.

The search and rescue drone promises impressive capabilities. It's designed to scan 30 to 60 acres of terrain within 20 minutes and can enter buildings to locate individuals who may be trapped or barricaded. It's also equipped to detect fires, contributing to the city's firefighting efforts.

As neighboring Picayune has already integrated drones into its safety measures, Long Beach is eager to do the same.

McGoey emphasized the timeliness of the move, saying, “Obviously, we both know that hurricane season is upon us. Unfortunately, as I stated in the meeting last night, it's not a matter of if, but it's a matter of when we're going to have to go through some type of recovery mode, and it would be nice to have that one.”

With a price tag of $15,000, the city anticipates having the drone within the next 60 to 90 days, provided the grant application proves successful. This initiative underscores Long Beach's commitment to leveraging technology to boost public safety and disaster recovery efforts with the .

The X2 Thermal features a 4K60P HDR color camera with a 16x digital zoom lens with ~46° HFOV, suited for situational awareness with longer standoff distances, and a FLIR® Boson 320 x 256 infrared camera with 8x digital zoom.

Alternatives to the Skydio X2 Thermal drone

In light of Skydio's lobbying efforts and the push for Blue sUAS, it is important to point out that the Skydio X2 is manufactured in the but still contains Chinese-made parts.

Both the DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise Thermal ($5,498 at BandH) and the Autel Robotics EVO II Dual 640T V3 ($5,999 at BandH) offer double the thermal resolution, which makes them far more efficient and capable as Search and Rescue drones.

These two Chinese-made drones are also significantly less expensive and offer more better cameras, general features, better transmission range, and longer flight times. This means that towns like Long Beach could have bought two DJI or Autel drones for the same amount or could have saved a lot of money…

Long Beach To Fly High With $15,000 Skydio X2 Thermal Drone 1
Long Beach To Fly High With $15,000 Skydio X2 Thermal Drone 2

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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