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Law enforcement teams are increasingly using drones for various policing purposes, but there are two major challenges: relatively short flight times, and the need for certified operators. 

One of the solutions is the new electric quadcopter developed by Axon which is leveraging the existing Fotokite tethered drone.

The electric quadcopter is tied to a long, reeled tether which delivers power up from a ground-based high-capacity battery or electrical outlet, plus it relays real-time HD video down from the drone’s onboard camera. This means that the aircraft can stay aloft in one location for hours a time, continuously transmitting video, according to newatlas.com.

Manually controlled via a smartphone or tablet, the drone can also fly autonomously, simply holding a given altitude and orientation. Because it’s safely tethered to the ground, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows it to be flown in urban areas without the need for waivers or an operator’s license.

That’s one of the main reasons it’s been incorporated into the new Axon Air system.

Instead of waiting for a certified pilot to arrive at a crime or accident scene, police officers could immediately deploy the drone themselves. It would then hover at an altitude of up to 150 feet (46 m), continuously providing a real-time bird’s eye view of the situation. The video can be live-streamed to a command center, plus it can also be logged in the company’s Axon Evidence system.

The system could additionally be utilized in applications such as traffic management, routine surveillance, or search and rescue.