Texas SWAT Team deploys Teledyne FLIR’s SIRAS drone to locate felon: how the “no geofencing” design choice paid off.
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
This past February, the new Teledyne FLIR SIRAS was deployed by a police SWAT team for a felony search in Texas. When a convicted felon escaped into a residential neighborhood, members of the local SWAT team were called out to assist with the search. As a result of the scale of the search area and the nighttime lighting conditions, aerial thermal imaging was decided to be the optimal mode of search.
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In addition to the department’s existing drone, a Teledyne FLIR SIRAS that it was testing was brought to assist due to the capability of its 640x SIRAS payload VUE TV128, featuring a 640×512 sensor and 16MP RGB camera.
When the SIRAS arrived, the existing drone was already set up while its operator attempted to obtain flight authorization. Set up in under a minute, the SIRAS was able to take flight before the other drone received authorization. Law enforcement seldom has the time to secure flight authorization. However, SIRAS bypasses this problem due to its lack of GEO fencing.
While the other drone reached its battery capacity after 22 minutes, the SIRAS was still flying at the 35-minute mark. When the remote warned that it had reached 25% charge, it was brought back to have its hot-swap battery replaced without powering down before returning to the air within 15 seconds. This functionality proved especially useful, as powering down can cause the existing drone authorization to reset, costing more time. The mission was concluded after another 30 minutes, and the SIRAS returned safely with 35% remaining battery. Furthermore, the SIRAS flew about 2,100 ft from the pilot at its furthest point, yet experienced no transmission issues.
Following the mission, the officers on scene made note of the drone’s extended battery life, ease of control, bright and clear screen, and the clarity of its thermal image even during the night.
Due to its lack of GEO fencing, its hot-swappable batteries, and its manufacturer-reported, one-minute “up time,” the SIRAS is the ideal UAS platform for law enforcement. Its rugged design, weather-sealed IP-rated airframe, and incredible optics allow it to effortlessly surpass the needs of any department.
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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