Halton Regional Police have used their drone [an Aeryon Scout] to search for missing persons, probe collisions, and investigate an armed robbery and homicide. In 2012, the drone even helped officers find about $744,000 worth of marijuana that was growing on a farmer’s field in Milton, Ont.
Halton police first purchased a drone (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, as they are known in the industry) to use in their investigations in 2009, when it was still a relatively new technology in law enforcement. Since then, it has been used in 50 police missions, according to now-retired operation manager Det. Dave Banks.
Dave Kroetsch can’t stop smiling.
His company, Aeryon Labs, has just won the second of its two awards at the 2014 Ontario Export Awards, an exclusive November luncheon, and Kroetsch, outfitted in a bright turquoise shirt and snappy matching stripped tie, shakes hands as he makes his way onstage to collect the award for Exporter of the Year.
A popular argument used by law enforcement and drone enthusiasts, when people say they are worried about drones spying on them, is this: The cameras on drones just aren't that good, a drone would have to be right next to you for it to be able to see anything important. Say goodbye to that argument, forever.
This is the Aeryon HDZoom30, a camera that can be mounted to the SkyRanger, a small drone used by the military, law enforcement, and commercial operators. And it can see your face or license plate, even if you can't see it. Seriously, watch the video above. No other product like this exists—not on a drone that small, at least.
As the Aeryon HDZoom30 imaging payload makes its way into the hands of operators worldwide, we are thrilled to share real-world imagery acquired in extraordinarily demanding conditions. Here we see the results of close inspection of remote elements of a national electrical transmission grid: exploiting the full 60x zoom capabilities of the Aeryon HDZoom30 to ensure a safe separation between the Aeryon SkyRanger and the target, without compromising the (remarkable!) quality of the images.
Q: Is that the K68 bolt?
A: Yes, in fact it is. And that bolt is over 100 feet in the air, halfway up the side of a mountain over 3000 feet above sea level, and 2000 feet away from the operator. If you’re interested, the text is less than an inch high, and there are 4 exposed threads on that bolt. Whether you’re analyzing structural integrity, planning preventative maintenance, or assessing damage to critical components, you won’t get a closer or clearer image without putting personnel at risk. And, with a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) UAV, such as Aeryon SkyRanger, you can achieve vantage points not even possible by a technician climbing a tower.
Drones are a cutting-edge growth industry. More drones are sold every three months than the entire US military uses. Aeryon Labs is, featured in THE AGE OF THE DRONE, as a leader in this huge new business. By 2020 the US Federal Aviation Agency anticipates more than 20,000 drones will be in the air in North America – and that doesn’t even include amateur operators.