Experts: First responders need drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles — so-called drones — could be key for the future of law enforcement and first responders as technology gets cheaper and agency budgets are cut, experts said.

“Drones are a critical technology that all local law enforcement agencies should have,” Missy Cummings, director of the MIT Humans and Automation Lab and a former fighter pilot, told the Herald at the Police Innovation Conference in Cambridge.

“They’re cheaper, they’re potentially safer, and they actually give (first responders) some potential immediate capability in terms of getting eyes on a dangerous situation almost immediately.”

Drones have sparked controversy because of privacy concerns and their use by U.S. armed forces overseas, but their uses go far beyond covert surveillance and military strikes, Cumming said.

A Colorado company last week sent its drones up to help survey the flood damage caused by days of torrential downpours when other airborne vehicles could not navigate in the wind and rain.

– See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/business_markets/2013/09/experts_first_responders_need_drones#sthash.e2h4Bs6H.dpuf

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