Axon and Fotokite have partnered to offer an all-in-one autonomous tethered drone solution for commercial clients. The partnership will allow Axon to introduce an aerial system along with safety tools from Fotokite into its Axon Air program.

The partnership with Fotokite means a tethered drone solution can be used by agencies around the US and Canada without the need for a licensed FAA pilot. Since the drone is always connected to the ground, the risk of a fly-away is removed along with the need for flight authorization.

The flight time of the drone is also increased as it doesn’t rely on its own onboard batteries. The drone is able to draw power from an alternative power source such as a generator.

The main use for the tethered drone system is for it to provide aerial surveillance, giving the users on the ground better situational awareness without the need for a manned aircraft.

The partnership will mean Fotokite’s system will be available for public safety and law enforcement agencies in the US and Canada in 2021 exclusively through Axon’s Air program.

The major benefits of the partnership includes:

  • Evidence management: Fotokite video footage is integrated directly into Axon Evidence allowing agencies a holistic view of what is happening in a given incident/investigation without needing to use an alternate application or tool to view the aerial footage.
  • Live-streaming: Staff back at the agency’s command center can see what is happening in the field in real-time through Axon Aware situational awareness software, enabling them to deploy resources more quickly and efficiently.
  • Program management: Agencies will save time and money in the operation of this system with simplified program management that does not require federal Part 107 (drone pilot) licenses or a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA.
  • Scalable aerial situational awareness: Traditional drone programs require public safety teams to call trained pilot teams to each scene they are deployed in. As a result, response times are slowed down by the availability of pilots on-scene. Fotokite technology enables scalable aerial scene awareness without the need for pilots on-scene, providing law enforcement the ability to gain instant situational awareness and incident records early in a response, when it matters most.

Axon CPO and EVP Software Jeff Kunins said:

This partnership with Fotokite is a game-changer for how our law enforcement customers view, assess and respond to crisis situations in real-time. This program will be a great addition for agencies with already existing drone programs as it allows for a greater breadth of incident coverage. For agencies that have not yet deployed a drone program, this a great and simple way to get started.

Fotokite CEO, Christopher McCall said:

We’re thrilled to partner exclusively with Axon in delivering a purpose-built tool to first responders in the public safety community. Our actively tethered UAS technology will directly serve Axon’s customers with the integrated product they need. Whether the use case is traffic control, vehicular accident scene management, search and rescue or routine patrol, users can simply press one button to receive a live-streamed bird’s eye view of an incident.

Photo: Axon

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