The first emergency thing to appear at the scene of accidents in Sussex and Surrey could soon be a cute little automated drone, if authorities pull it off, with the force receiving permission and money from the Home Office to test unmanned vehicles out there in the real world.
The Home Office is funding the trial of the miniature flying squad, with £250k from the Police Innovation Fund heading toward the two forces to pay for the trial. Five drones will be acquired by police, with their expected uses ranging from photographing accident scenes to tracking fugitives and keeping watch over demonstrations.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry claims it's about adding flexibility rather than saving money, saying: "They can go to places where it is unsafe for officers and can gather evidence quickly that could be vital in an investigation or that could help us deploy officers to the right places at the right time, potentially allowing us to make life-saving decisions."
Sussex police has previously had access to one little drone to play with, with a short trial at Gatwick last year suggesting they're a great way of reaching the places traditional CCTV cameras can't. [Sussex Police via The Times]