Original article - South Wales Argus
THE new member of the Gwent Police team was on show this afternoon at Caerphilly Rugby Club as the service’s state-of-the-art drone took to the skies for a demonstration flight.
The new drone has not been cheap, coming in at a cost of £20,000. However, Inspector Gavin Clifton explained how cutting-edge pieces of technology such as this would help the police in many ways.
“This drone will be used on a load of different operations, from missing people to public order events, accident investigation to rural crime,” he said.
“It will be especially useful on difficult terrain as we have around the Caerphilly area. Places that emergency teams will struggle to get under normal circumstances.
“We’ve been working in collaboration with the guys at Evolve Dynamics for 18 months, making sure the drone is exactly what we need.”
The new piece of police kit, called the Sky Mantis, has been developed by Evolve Dynamics, a British tech firm based in Guildford which has been creating drones for four years.
It features two cameras – one a high-definition camera with a 30x zoom and the other a high-end thermal camera which is able to see in the dark.
The craft is also weatherproof, which it proved during the demonstration flight, and can be “out of the bag and up in the air” in under a minute according to Evolve Dynamics director Mike Dewhirst.
“This is £20,000 worth of drone,” said Mr Dewhirst.
“However, there are only two other drones on the market with a similar 45-minute flight time, and they cost £80,000.
“The camera is front-mounted, which is preferable to it being mounted underneath, especially when it comes to things like checking under bridges and similar jobs.”