Though they’ve had approval to utilize such technology since July of 2011, the police force in Miami Florida have never actually utilized their drone technology, but it’s certainly there and ready for action. There aren’t any weapons attached to these T-Hawk Micro-Air Vehicles, and the drones aren’t really capable of destroying or saving any target – instead they’re used to capture events from the sky with their basic video and photo cameras installed aboard. These drones are made specifically for standoff situations in which an overhead view would be beneficial, and their relative small size and ease in use makes them perfect for use by the police forces in the area.
The size here in these drones used by the Miami police force is vital as in the past in these standoff situations they’d be using helicopters, which are certainly larger targets than they’d like to be presenting. A standoff, as they’re mentioning here, is one in which there’s a single person or a set of people on the opposing side with weapons, perhaps firing them off, perhaps just threatening violence, but certainly not suspecting there’ll be a tiny flying robot hovering over their heads. The T-Hawk Micro-Air Vehicle looks like a small vacuum cleaner and sounds like a weedwhacker – certainly not threatening to anyone either.
Again these drones have no payload capability, no cargo bay as it were, and they’re completely remotely controlled from a station on the ground which can also see what the camera on the device sees in real time. The cost of one of these drones is about $200,000, which compared to the massive price of a helicopter unit will certainly be enticing to police forces with a need but not a whole lot of cash. The program that launched these two drones was funded by a 2008 federal grant, costing county taxpayers then just $1 total.