Strathclyde tests unmanned airborne vehicles

Strathclyde Police is to trial an unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV) to help search for missing people.

Feb 28, 2008
By Paul Jacques

Strathclyde Police is to trial an unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV) to help search for missing people.

Specially selected officers in Argyll will trial the UAV, provided by Cyberflight, for three months to complement existing air support and assist in mountain and marine searches.

A UAV is a lightweight, man-portable device that can carry out searches using photographs and video.

In rural areas, in particular, UAVs can help locate missing people over land and sea in shorter time scales than the often lengthy ground searches by officers.

The UAV can be set up quickly to provide initial searches prior to the arrival of other aircraft and can be safely flown in poor visibility and weather conditions which can ground traditional aircraft.

The use of these devices is controlled by the Civil Aviation Authority and Strathclyde Police will need comply with all its requirements.

Deputy Chief Constable Ricky Gray said there are strict protocols and guidelines governing the use of this equipment and it will not replace existing measures presently in force. It was purely an exercise to access the suitability of this type of equipment and if there is a potential use.

Strathclyde Police will decide whether to adopt the equipment after the trial.

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