The Examiner reports that the Montgomery County (Conroe TX) Sheriff’s Office had a small mishap with one of their new toys. A $300,000 dollar toy to be exact. According to the report, the sheriff’s SWAT team suited up with all their fire power. They brought everything, including the “Bearcat,” which is a large APC they use to transport the officers to different locations. While they were getting ready, they launched the experimental drone developed by Vanguard Defense Industries to take pictures and video of the police in action – then it crashed onto the police vehicle.
According to Vanguard CEO Michael Buscher said his company’s prototype drone was flying about 18-feet off the ground when it lost contact with the controller’s console on the ground. It’s designed to go into an auto shutdown mode, according to Buscher, but when it was coming down the drone crashed into the SWAT team’s armored vehicle.
Luckily no police officers were injured during the crash, and to be honest, it wouldn’t of crashed if the armored vehicle was on the way. Most drones now days have the ability to “glide” or to return to a pre-programmed location. The only problem is that these drones don’t have the ability to see towers, trees, power lines, people, vehicles, or any other thing around them. Once they lose connection to their ground unit, they instantly begin to fly or glide to a safe area hoping that nothing is going to be on the way.
Don’t get me wrong, as you can see from the video above, these drones can really make the difference in battle, or just patrolling the city from above. If a criminal went out the back door while they were conducting a raid, the drone is cheaper to fly around than a helicopter. Also, if the drone gets shot at, no officers are in danger of getting hurt – unless it crashes on top of them.
They have been unable to figure out what caused the disconnection error, but small problems like these need to be fixed before we start patrolling the streets with drones, last thing you want is to have a 7′ foot drone landing on top of your car on your way to work. [Examiner]