A tense, 11-hour long stand-off between a suspect and police offers at a Denny’s restaurant in Cambell, California was brought to a peaceful end earlier this month, with help from an Impossible Aerospace US-1 drone.
The US-1 was launched by Impossible Aerospace in September 2018. We haven’t heard much since but the concept remains unique and intriguing: a drone essentially in the shape of a battery, with cells spread around its body to provide significantly better battery life and flight times than comparable models.
The company has hefty backing from a range of VC funds and is pitching its drone as a very American solution: The US-1 is designed, built and supported in the USA.
The US-1 Sees Action in California
The incident in Campbell, California on February 8th was the first public test for the US-1.
Equipped with thermal and optical sensors and a 90-minute flight time, the Impossible Aerospace drone provided law enforcement with a persistent and accurate aerial view of the perimeter, roof, and exits of the building.
According to local police and SWAT authorities, the US-1 was used to provide a regular perimeter scan and consistent video footage. One of the SWAT teams’ strategies was to use tear gas to force the suspect out of hiding. The US-1 showed officers that an open kitchen vent was quickly leaking tear gas, ultimately allowing the SWAT team to adjust their strategy and succeed in a peaceful arrest.
“During critical incidents, real-time intelligence is extremely important. At this recent event involving a barricaded subject with a gun, Impossible Aerospace provided a piece of intelligence that our agency previously has never had access to,” said Gary Berg, Police Captain in Campbell.
“The use of the US-1 drone helped us optimize the safety of our officers and the community while providing valuable information to the command post through the live video feed. Fortunately, after almost 12 hours, the suspect was taken into custody safely. We are very appreciative of the assistance that Impossible Aerospace provided during this incident.”
— Chuck Clifford (@chuckclifford) February 8, 2019
Impossible Aerospace looking to forge partnerships
Much has been made of the data security issues around the use of DJI products. But those days appear to be behind the Chinese manufacturer, with several developments, product offerings and policy changes coming out in the past year or so clearly prioritizing the integrity of customer data.
However, even if Impossible Aerospace’s domestically-made-spiel doesn’t pull in new customers, the best-in-class battery life may well do. The US-1 also comes integrated with combined thermal and optical sensors in the form of a FLIR Duo Pro R, so it appears to be ideal for first responders and any commercial application where persistence is key.
Speaking to Dronelife, Impossible Aerospace CEO Spencer Gore said, “The Impossible Aerospace Assist Team will be on call 24/7 over the next several months to aid law enforcement and emergency responders in their efforts to do their jobs safer and more efficiently when the need for a Drone arises.”