The Miami police force will begin experimenting with using Honeywell Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) starting in 2008. They plan on using the drones in SWAT operations. These operation will be closely watched by the FAA to see if unmanned vehicles can be effectively (and safely) used in urban environments.
see if we can professionally manage this program," said Lt. Cliff
Nelson of the police department’s aviation unit.
The article references an event two years ago where a police helicopter was shot by an armed suspect, and the pilot was forced to land in someone’s back yard. MAVs would be significantly smaller and ligher and would pose less risk if such an even were to be repeted. The police force only plans to use these vehicles in specific operations, which should reduce the privacy concerns that are raised by these "eys in the sky."
The Houston police force was also given permission by the FAA to use similar drones in their operations. Let’s hope that such operations prove successful and open up the US skies for unmanned vehicles.