The 3.5 pound Draganflyer X6 Helicopter Tech cost $41,000 and is operated with a handheld controller and two joysticks. It has cameras that take still pictures, videos and infrared shots that can be viewed live, but it has a battery life of less than 10 minutes. It can’t carry anything that weighs more than 35 ounces.
It also can’t be flown around people or over crowds.
Still, the Police Department’s acquisition of the unmanned aerial vehicle and its recent approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate the drone has raised issues about privacy, the use of technology in law enforcement and the alleged militarization of police work.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has issued a report saying that current laws are inadequate to safeguard citizen privacy.
The proposed use of drones in Seattle should prompt city leaders to draft policies and procedures that set strict guidelines on when and how the vehicles can be used, what information will be gathered, with whom it will be shared and how long it will be stored, said ACLU Washington spokesman Doug Honig.
Source: Christine Clarridge for the Seattle Times.
Check out the DraganFly picture gallery here.