As crime rises, NYC Mayor Adams said to be mulling use of drones to protect the streets

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New York Mayor Eric Adams is said to be seriously considering an unweaponized mini-army of robocop drones to help police the Big Apple, deploying them from rooftops to patrol the city as “an eye in the sky in zero time.”

The New York Post is reporting that Tel Aviv-based Blue White Robotics and Easy Aerial of Brooklyn captured the interest of Adams earlier this month at a “NY + Israel = Safer, Smarter Cities” event hosted by the NYC-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

The mayor was evidently so impressed with the presentation that he suggested that talks take place between his Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser and both firms’ leaders concerning New York City potentially purchasing drones and expanding the city’s use of them, according to New York Jewish Week.

Blue White Robotics CEO Ben Alfi said they are calling the plans for New York the “Soteria Project,” derived from the Greek word meaning “deliverance from a crisis.” The drones are also being pitched to the FDNY and can be utilized by the military.

“Eric is a big booster of drones and how they can be used to streamline government function, but obviously whatever he would try to roll out would be constrained under existing laws limiting drone use,” an unnamed source told the New York Post.

The companys’ motto is “an eye in the sky in zero time.”

CEO and Founder of Easy Aerial, Ido Gur, claimed in his presentation to Adams that the police could respond to crimes anywhere in Manhattan in under a minute with the use of just ten of his drones. They run between $70,000 and $100,000 each and come with a mini-ground station for take-off, landing, and recharging.

“If someone fires a pistol,” the device’s case “will open and the drone will go into automation,” Gur stated. “We can be onsite in a few seconds – much faster than 911.”

The drones would allegedly not be weaponized or be capable of facial recognition. They are, however, equipped with thermal cameras that facilitate night vision. The drones also have sensors for detecting radiation and a myriad of other features. The feed from the drones could be sent directly to the NYPD, patrol cars, or even an officer’s phone.

They also have the capability of setting off an array of flashing lights and issuing vocal commands via speakers.

Adams is said to be “very interested” in placing drones along rooftops in high-crime areas of New York City and connecting them to the NYPD’s ShotSpotter gunfire-recognition system.

The mayor also “promised” Gur that he would visit the drones’ factory within weeks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Adams “doesn’t discuss private conversations but obviously made no commitments – and would never do so in a casual conversation at an event,” a spokesman for Adams said.

Not everyone is keen on the idea. State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) asserted that adding more drones to the NYPD’s burgeoning fleet would be “irresponsible and invasive.”

“Using taxpayer dollars to buy these surveillance drones while also asking New Yorkers to accept defunded sanitation, education, and human services departments is reprehensible,” she remarked to New York Jewish Week. “What will it take to make Mayor Adams understand that the very neighborhoods he wants to circle drones over are the ones who are suffering from a lack of investment?”

Drones are not new to the NYPD. In December 2018, the NYPD deployed 14 drones to be used in hostage situations, reach remote crime scenes, and monitor large crowds.

Easy Aerial provided security drones during the Super Bowl. The company’s devices have also been used on the Mexican border and along the Gaza Strip for Israel. The companies also have six contracts with the U.S. Air Force for their drones.


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