American police departments might be replacing their helicopters for modified versions of military drone aircrafts as of 2025, Defense One reported.
According to Defense One, the drones are cheaper, fly longer, and are easier to hide from criminals being monitored. There is no crew aboard to be injured or killed in the event of a crash.
They can also be equipped with cameras powerful enough to identify a person from several miles away. While that is expected to be a boon for law enforcement, it also raises privacy concerns, Newsmax reports.
Current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules still apply to human-piloted craft, not those flown by people in distant areas like the military drones monitoring and attacking terrorist fighters in the Middle East.
“The market won’t exist until the regulations exist. The FAA was a little slow in coming around to the realization that we needed to get those in place.” Matthew Scassero, director of the University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, told Defense One.
One of the most well-known regulations currently in place is that drones can be flown only within line of site of the operator, and this rule applies to smaller drones flown by individuals as well.
The larger drones that police departments would fly would have to meet rules of regular piloted aircraft, including flying in all weather and the ability to survive a lightning strike.