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Public safety drone initiative launched for San Diego UAS program

Public safety drone initiative launched for San Diego UAS program
Cape, a cloud platform for drone telepresence and data management, and the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) have announced the official launch of a new deployment in the San Diego Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP).

As part of the program, the CVPD will integrate Cape-enabled drones into daily emergency response operations. The launch is the latest deployment from the City of San Diego, who was selected as one of just 10 national awardees by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration for the IPP, and marks one of the first law enforcement IPP deployments nationwide.

As one of the earliest operational use-cases in the US, the CVPD is leading the way for the future of public safety drone integration, and taking a unique and impactful approach to the program, opting to use Cape-enabled drones proactively in emergency situations versus traditional reactive response and support efforts. At launch, drones will be available to assist on service calls for 10 hours per day, with plans to increase over time. The drone will be dispatched on top priority calls in proximity of the CVPD headquarters, which is one of the heaviest call zones in the City of Chula Vista. A CVPD drone will be launched from the roof of the CVPD headquarters, and will be teleoperated by an officer in the command center to the location of the call, in most cases arriving well ahead of the responding ground units. As a result, responding officers will be able to view the live stream en route to the scene and better determine needed resources before arrival.

“Chula Vista is modeling the future of drone integration in public safety by utilizing drones as first responders today,” said Chris Rittler, CEO of Cape. “We are honored to partner with Chula Vista to lead the effort in shaping the future of safe commercial drone integration in the US. We look forward to continuing to work with CVPD and the City of San Diego to increase the safety of residents and first responders.”

The official launch kicked off at the CVPD headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 12:00 p.m. PDT. Aimed at offering a first-hand view of the impact on emergency response efforts, the launch event will showcase drone capabilities that will be utilized by the CVPD as part of the San Diego IPP initiative. This will include the ability to provide real-time aerial visibility to first responder teams both on scene and in the command center, and to better and faster inform resource decisions for emergency situations and daily operatives.

"Today, expectations around keeping the community safe are higher than ever, and drones are an innovative and powerful resource to help efficiently respond to situations and get a comprehensive understanding of what officers and first responders are facing,” said Roxana Kennedy, Chula Vista Chief of Police. “This is a big next step in our Smart City Action Plan. We are excited to officially launch with Cape to integrate drones into our daily operations, using them as a tool to decrease response times and increase community safety.”

With deep roots in the military, the San Diego region is well-positioned to lead the charge in UAS integration for law enforcement, commercial and military use. In fact, San Diego County receives the highest concentration of DoD funding for unmanned systems technology of any location in the country. Covering air, land, and water, the unmanned systems platforms manufactured in the region serve a variety of life-saving military and commercial missions. As the largest city selected for the IPP, the San Diego region will help define the implementation of UAS as we know it.

Cape’s partnership with the City of Chula Vista is the latest example of its work helping companies across industries use drones as a tool for improving safety, increasing operational efficiency, and enabling innovation. The CVPD launch expands on the company’s success with similar public safety initiatives around the world, including its work with the the City of Ensenada, Mexico, where drones equipped with the Cape Aerial Telepresence platform were used to reduce crime rates by more than 10 percent and improve emergency response times by 90 percent.


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