Queensland government expands police air fleet with new drone trials



Image: Anthony Devlin – PA Images/Getty Images

The Queensland government has announced that it will invest nearly a million dollars to deliver drones for use in Townsville and Cairns.

The government of the Sunshine State detailed that the drones will initially be trialled in each town for 12 months.

The remotely piloted aircrafts will be integrated with an aerial platform featuring intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, plus AI technologies for tracking vehicles and thermal imaging cameras to locate lost people. Police on the ground will then be able to receive a live feed of images being recorded by the aerial platform.

The drones form part of an expansion of the Queensland Police’s air fleet, which will also see the introduction of new helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

“Once again this is the Queensland Police Service looking to always be at the cutting edge and be early-adopters of the latest technologies that may assist their efforts to support community safety,” Queensland Police acting chief superintendent Marcus Hill said.

Drone operations in Queensland are not uncommon. Earlier this month, on-demand delivery drone company Wing announced it was expanding its pilot in southeast Queensland by teaming up with KFC to run a trial where its drones will be used to deliver for free a range of Kentucky Fried Chicken menu items to customers in the area.

This latest pilot by Wing followed trials the Alphabet-owned company ran with Australian retail property group Vicinity Centres where it offered drone delivery for goods purchased from participating businesses at Grand Plaza in Logan.

In October 2020, Queensland was named as home of Boeing’s production facility for unmanned defence aircraft. At the time, Boeing said the facility would build the company’s Airpower Teaming System, and it would be the first time a Boeing military aircraft has been designed and developed outside of the US. 

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