NEW: Bradenton company designs unmanned aerial vehicle

It hovers easily even in a stiff cross wind, can be equipped with a variety of cameras including thermal imaging, has a 1,500-foot ceiling and can navigate via global positioning satellites.

All the while its pilot remains firmly on the ground.

About the only thing it cannot do, which a regular helicopter can, is carry passengers — unless they weigh less than 1,200 grams.

Aegis Tactical is developing a prototype Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or UAV, specifically designed for law enforcement, firefighters and other public safety officials. The Bradenton company is a rare provider of the devices — which are coming into vogue for law enforcement across the country as well as generating concerns about privacy from a host of camps — based in Southwest Florida.

Best known to the American public through the unmanned, weaponized aircraft that the U.S. military has been using for years against Al-Qaeda and other insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, UAVs comes in all shapes and sizes.

The Aegis UAV can do 80 percent of what a real helicopter can do for less than what a department would pay for two hours of traditional flight time, the Bradenton company says.

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