‘AirRobot’ were showing off their AR100B surveillance drone at the anti-BNP protests in Codnor, Derbyshire.
It was also flow over the lane at the second ‘designated protest point’ in Codnor Denby Lane. I didn’t see it, but I guess they also used the device over the festival field itself.
Pilot Mark Lawrence was from the German company, AirRobot. He was demonstrating the surveillance drone capabilities to members of the Derbyshire Police Operational Support Unit. The police haven’t bought it yet but they said that they may share the £25,000 costs with Nottinghamshire Police, same as with the helicopter. I said that I was aware of a number of different manufactures of this sort of equipment, so, what about those? The police rep said that optically, and endurance wise, they are all quite similar. This device however was a much more stable platform. For example a gust of wind could unbalance the craft before an operator could correct it. But some of the trim capabilities were automatic. Thus, the operator can pay more attention to the subject, and less to the flying of the device.
It has about 30 mins battery life endurance, a max height of 1000m although I think it would usually be operated a lot lower. Horizontally, between 500 – 1000m because of the range of both the control signals and the informantion downlink.
Like International Rescue Thunderbird 2, it can be fitted with a number of differant cameras. They come in modules. It seem to me this is a neat way of saving weight in that exactly the right camera for the mission that moment can be fitted. It takes only a couple of minutes to change the camera module if required. The image on the control deck was of ‘monitor quality’. Enough to fly it and see where it’s pointing. High quality images can both / either be stored on a card or transmitted as downlink to the gold commander operations room.
This was the same bit of kit that was deployed over Stonehenge during the Summer Solstice in June, this year.
All in all a nifty bit of kit. I want one!
more pictures of this device at my indymedia posting:
AirRobots Drone deployed at Demo against the BNP Event in Derbyshire