Feeds

Liverpool police get mini-Black Helicopter

Cyber-copters pack whisper mode, nightsight CCTV

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The era of Robocop - and perhaps of the surveillance society - came a step nearer today with the announcement that Merseyside plods have started trialling a flying police robot.

The scally sky-patrolman, unlike military kill-bots such as the US Reaper, isn't intended for any active role. It is purely an observation platform, mounting CCTV with a range of imaging options.

The Scouse law-enforcers' eye in the sky is the "hicam microdrone", a German battery-powered quad-rotor helicopter which weighs less than 1kg and is less than 1 metre in diameter, according to reports. The diminutive cyber-copter can apparently stay up for 20 minutes per battery charge and its UK distributors say that it is capable of "immediate deployment from car/dog van/other." YouTube footage is available here.

The microdrone apparently has a highly capable autopilot, making it much easier to fly than a normal remote-control helicopter.

A spokesman for the machine's UK distributor said "it is pretty much forward, back, left, right and record". Apparently, the microdrone is exempt from air-traffic restrictions in much the same way toy aircraft are. The autopilot can navigate GPS waypoints or hover autonomously, and is also capable of landing itself if the control signal is lost.

The flying robo-constable is also "almost silent" in use, and "allows entirely covert operation".

The UK distributor spokesman said the aircraft are "military derived...obviously I can't talk too much about that particular use...they are essentially reconnaissance tools."

Since the microdrone isn't listed among those used by the regular UK military, this might indicate that the British special forces have taken an interest in the diminutive stealth-chopper, perhaps in a counter-terrorism role. This would fit in with the Merseyside plods' reported plans to test it in firearms operations, as well as for more mundane tasks such as monitoring traffic congestion and crowds.

According to the Guardian, the spy drone will also "track criminals and record anti-social behaviour".

Given the aircraft's attributes, conspiracy theorists will be pleased to note that it seems to be available in just one colour: black. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.