Texas Sheriff’s Department now equipped with armed robotic drone

A sheriff’s office in Houston is going high-tech as it prepares to deploy a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for criminal investigations. The remote-controlled UAV in question is Vanguard Defense Industries’ ShadowHawk, a robotic helicopter the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Conroe purchased for $300,000.

Weighing 50 lbs., the relatively tiny chopper is controlled by a laptop on the ground. A video game-like interface equipped on the laptop is used to zoom and aim a camera as well as a temperature sensitive infrared device, which are both mounted in front of the drone. The camera caused a stir in the local media, as citizens fear that it could invade their privacy. But the sheriff’s department assures residents that the drone will only be used in situations dealing with criminals, and not for any kind of clandestine surveillance operations against private citizens.


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