In a move to fortify its defenses against potential aerial threats, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is considering the acquisition of an advanced drone-detection vehicle.
Known as the “Trident Series Command Center with Drone Detection nodes,” the state-of-the-art vehicle is designed with technology to detect and counter unauthorized drone activity, aimed at preventing potential terror attacks.
A spokeswoman for the NYPD confirmed that they are actively exploring the possibility of purchasing this customized solution from Florida-based Flymotion, citing the need to be vigilant against the misuse of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, which could be used to carry out malicious activities.
“The vehicle being customized by Flymotion allows NYPD to be vigilant against the hazard posed by the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones, especially among those who will place an explosive or dispersal device on the UAS with the intent of causing harm,” the NYPD said.
The Trident vehicle, first unveiled in 2016, was initially estimated to cost approximately $300,000. However, it is yet to be determined how much the customized version would cost today.
Inside the converted Mercedes-Benz van, two large flat-panel displays enable operators to view video feeds from two to four different sources. Law enforcement personnel can also control NYPD drones from within the vehicle, sharing the visual data with headquarters or other relevant parties.
The NYPD sees this technology as a crucial addition to its arsenal to ensure the safety and security of the city’s residents.
“To continue to safeguard our city, it is essential to explore ways technology can support the NYPD’s mission,” an NYPD spokesperson told the Post.
As the use of drones continues to grow, it becomes imperative for law enforcement to stay on the cutting edge of technology.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, emphasized the importance of keeping up with technological advancements for public safety.
“The privacy people will be jumping up and down as usual, but the thing is, these drones in the wrong hands could pose a threat to the general public,” he noted.
While the specific capabilities of the vehicle remain undisclosed, concerns have been raised about the potential to disable drones within city limits.
The risk of falling drones or debris in densely populated areas has led to questions regarding the safety of such countermeasures.
There is, however, an indication that the federal government may grant major cities the authority to interdict non-permitted drones, potentially addressing these concerns.
Flying drones in most parts of New York City is illegal, with operators facing fines for violations.
Nevertheless, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill in June that would empower certain agencies through a pilot program to take down dangerous drones.
Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-Penn.), one of the bill’s sponsors, raised concerns about the threat drones pose to public safety.
“Drone technology is only getting better, frankly. It’s only getting smaller, it’s only getting cheaper. We need to make sure that we’re addressing this issue for all of those kinds of vulnerable places, like New York,” he said.