This unique quadcopter helped a SWAT team nab an armed suspect

this unique quadcopter helped a swat team nab an armed suspect us 1 drone  impossible aerospace
Impossible Aerospace

Dubbed by its creator as “the flying battery” for a unique design that literally envelops its power source, the US-1 quadcopter turned many heads when it made its debut in September 2018.

The drone, built by California-based Impossible Aerospace, was recently deployed for the first time by a SWAT team in Campbell, California, during a stand-off situation involving an armed suspect holed up inside a Denny’s restaurant.

Able to stay in the air for an impressive 120 minutes on a single charge (compare that to the 30 minutes you get with the Mavic Pro 2), the US-1 gave the SWAT team a real-time and persistent aerial view of the perimeter, roof, and exits of the building.

The drone was able to fly close to the restaurant and offer an ongoing perimeter scan and more consistent video footage than a police helicopter could have provided, and for a fraction of the cost, too.

At one point, live footage from the drone’s thermal and optical cameras revealed that tear gas, which had been used in a bid to force the suspect from the building, was leaking from a kitchen vent, prompting the SWAT team to adjust its tactics.

The suspect was eventually arrested some 12 hours after the incident began.

“Real-time intelligence is extremely important”

“During critical incidents, real-time intelligence is extremely important,” local police captain Gary Berg said in a release. “At this recent event involving a barricaded subject with a gun, Impossible Aerospace provided a piece of intelligence that our agency previously has never had access to.”

Berg added: “The use of the US-1 drone helped us optimize the safety of our officers and the community while providing valuable information to the command post through the live video feed.”

Unusual design

The US-1 quadcopter, which is essentially a battery with propellers, features a 26-inch frame and was designed by engineers who once worked at such companies as Tesla and SpaceX.

The battery-first approach was central to the development of the $7,500 drone, with Impossible Aerospace CEO Spencer Gore essentially building the aircraft around its power source.

this unique quadcopter helped a swat team nab an armed suspect us 1 drone
Impossible Aerospace

The downsides are that you can’t swap out the battery, meaning you’d need at least two of these drones if you need to fly for longer than a couple of hours in one session. With a regular drone, you could land it and quickly swap out the battery before sending it skyward again, or have several flying in relay for uninterrupted coverage of a scene. This may be a more appealing option if cost is important.

Other options for long, uninterrupted drone flights include gasoline-powered machines, or one with a cable attached to a power source on the ground.

Crime-fighting drones

A growing number of police departments in the U.S. and beyond are incorporating drones into their crime-fighting kit. The flying machines can be used in a range of scenarios that include crowd surveillance, search-and-rescue missions, hostage situations, hazardous material incidents, and crime scene investigations where the location is hard to access.

But some privacy groups have expressed concern about how the gathered drone footage is used or stored. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), for example, recently questioned the NYPD’s use of the technology, claiming that there are “no meaningful restrictions on police deployment of drones, paving the way for the NYPD to build a permanent archive of any behavior visible from the sky.”

The NYCLU added that while there are “legitimate reasons why the NYPD may need to use high-tech equipment like drones to protect our city … law enforcement needs must always be balanced with the privacy rights” of the local community.

Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.

Last gen had some hits! Take a look at the best PS3 games of all time

Choosing the right PlayStation 3 game can be a conundrum, especially when there are nearly 1,500 titles to choose from. Thankfully, we've rounded up the best games to have ever made it to the platform.

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.
Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers plan to beam Earth’s greatest hits into deep space, and you can help

A new project from the SETI Institute (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will give the public the chance to submit compositions to be beamed into space, with the aim of connecting people around the world through music.
Emerging Tech

Scientists have a way to turn off alcoholism: Blasting the brain with lasers

Researchers from Scripps Research have demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats by targeting a part of the brain using lasers. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

China has cloned its best police dog. Now it wants to mass-produce more

Scientists in China have cloned the Sherlock Holmes of police sniffer dogs, with possible plans to mass produce it in the future. Here's why its creators think that's a great idea.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.
Emerging Tech

A 3D printer the size of a small barn will produce entire homes in Saudi Arabia

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can comfortably fit on the side of your desk… well, Danish company Cobod International’s enormous new 3D house printer probably isn’t for you.

Need a ride? Amazon is slashing prices on popular electric scooters

If you’re not much of a cyclist or if you’re looking for a lazier way to zip about town, an electric scooter should be right up your alley. Two of our favorites, the foldable Glion Dolly and the eco-friendly Razor scooter, are on sale…
Emerging Tech

Unexpected particle plumes discovered jetting out of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx craft traveled to asteroid Bennu last year and won't return until 2023. But the mission is already throwing up unexpected findings, like plumes of particles which are being ejected from the surface of the asteroid.