Rain causes UK police drones to fall out of the sky, rendering whole fleet effectively useless
Wednesday, January 15, 2020/
An investigation into drones used by UK police forces has found they tend to crash in the rain, rendering them effectively useless in the British climate.
The ‘Matrice 200’ drones, produced by Chinese manufacturer DJI, were investigated by the UK government’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) after 16 of the unmanned machines crashed due to technical difficulties.
The AAIB found the aircrafts crashed in wet weather, and flagged them as a rather obvious safety risk.
“Failures of the Matrice 200 series aircraft resulted in a loss of power and control, with the aircraft typically falling vertically to the ground,” the report said.
According to DJI’s website, the Matrice 200 drones are built to withstand sub-zero temperatures, and to maintain stable flight in strong winds. The site also says the design “ensures weather and water resistance”.
This explains a lot, of course. As anyone who has bought a raincoat for the Great British weather will know, ‘water resistance’ just won’t cut it. You need full-blown waterproof if you want any chance of staying dry.
To add insult to injury, drone manufacturer PowerVision last week debuted its PowerEgg X model at CES 2020.
Not only does the new model feature a 4K-resolution camera mounted to minimise camera shake, but it also comes with a range of waterproof accessories, allowing it to fly in heavy rain, and even to land on water (if things get really bad).
The UK police launched its drone unit in 2017, and now uses them for things like searching for missing people, monitoring crowds and counter-terrorism.
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