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The contraption weighs 18 pounds and looks like a flying garbage can, or maybe R2D2, of Star Wars fame, but with more plumbing.

The newest technological crime-fighting machine for the largest law-enforcement agency in the southeastern United States is capable of topping 9,000 feet, stops on a dime and can hang in midair like a hummingbird while training powerful lenses on its prey.

The Honeywell T-Hawk — or micro air vehicle, as Miami-Dade police refer to it — even uses heat imaging to pick out targets.
But bad guys can take solace: The T-Hawk can’t see behind solid walls, can’t deal with high winds, and doesn’t launch missiles or spray machine-gun fire.

“It sounds like a lawn mower outside your window. You know it’s coming when you hear it,” said Sgt. Andrew Cohen, a licensed pilot who has been testing the drone — controlled from a laptop — for years in the hope it will be up and running in the coming months.

Miami-Dade police began testing their two T-Hawks about four years ago after receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. One was purchased, the other leased from manufacturer Honeywell for $1 a year. Each unit, operated on land by a laptop, costs only about $50,000.

Source: Charles Rabin for The Miami Herald.

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