(Air) Robot Makes “Arrest”

I was about to write a Robots: Recent Developments post when news of an aerial-drone “arrest” flitted across my radar screen. “A first” the headlines screams—at least in the U.K. The poor fellow nabbed? A British car thief, cringing in the bushes. Poor chap: the thick fog didn’t help him. The Air Robot’s thermal-imaging cameras pick up body heat. The drone directed the Merseyside bobbies to the cringing thief’s location; the bobbies directed the would-be thief to a paddy wagon.

Now it seems the Merseyside police used their £40,000 Air Robot illegally. All Aerial Surveillance Systems operations are now on hold.

But you and I know Air Robots (and their brethren are aloft), and not just on the battlefield or in the U.K. So—what is an AirRobot? And what can it do?

The AR100B aerial drone is made by AirRobot UK. According to the manufacturer’s website:

The AR100B can fly silently through the air or hover while transmitting live images to the operator at the ground station. The silent operation and size of the platform allows aerial surveillance to be carried out in built up residential urban areas as well as rural locations without causing any disturbances.

The unit can also ‘perch and stare’ from a solid platform allowing the operator to capture hours of footage from an out of view vantage point.

The AR100B is the perfect device for any covert or overt aerial surveillance mission. Systems are available with analogue or digital command units and offer many useful upgrade options to suite your requirements.

Applications include police work, fire-and-rescue services, military and “other government agencies'” operations. The company provides technical specifications for the insanely curious in a handy-dandy PDF document (not pictured below).

AirRobot isn’t the only company making aerial drones in the UK: MW Power Systems Ltd. (“Your Eye in the Sky”) makes “microdrones” for use in emergency, military, and “government agency” work.

The web site Sentinels of London (a shrine to surveillance)—”Britain is still Great when it comes to surveillance”—is keeping an eye on British surveillance. Perhaps…

… perhaps I’ll keep this as a subject area to keep tabs on… right here… at home… where Big Brother may be watching us too.

Dr. Kirtland C. Peterson—”Cat” to his friends and colleagues—feeds his left brain with science, his right brain with the rich feast of fiction, including SF and fantasy. Among his life’s highlights are sitting in the pilot’s seat of a shuttle prepping for launch at the Kennedy Space Center, and accepting an invitation from Brannon Braga to pitch Star Trek stories at Paramount in LA. Currently reading Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. (Just finished Marian Engel’s Bear.)


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