Axon, the global leader in connected public safety technologies, announced a partnership with Fotokite, a service provider of actively tethered Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) solutions and public safety software tools, to provide their products and services as part of the Axon Air program. This exclusive partnership will enable Axon’s law enforcement customers to view live-streamed footage within Axon’s digital evidence management solution, Axon Evidence. The Axon Air program includes the Fotokite Sigma UAS, Fotokite’s situational awareness software tools, and the tools needed to view, manage and share video evidence.
The benefits of an actively tethered Fotokite drone versus standard drones are 1) increased safety and 2) significant team resource savings with autonomous flight. No piloting is needed throughout an operation up to 150 feet above ground level. Actively tethered UAS are permitted to be used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) without additional waivers or pilot license requirements. With a full weather-proof rating and power and data delivery over the tether, Fotokite Sigma can fly in harsh weather conditions and stay airborne beyond 24 hours of continuous flight versus the shorter flight times of free-flying drones. Planned benefits and features of the Axon Air and Fotokite partnership include:
- Evidence Management: Fotokite video footage is integrated directly into Axon Evidence allowing agencies a holistic view of what is happening in a given incident/investigation without needing to use an alternate application or tool to view the aerial footage.
- Live-streaming: Staff back at the agency’s command center can see what is happening in the field in real-time through Axon Aware situational awareness software, enabling them to deploy resources more quickly and efficiently.
- Program Management: Agencies will save time and money in the operation of this system with simplified program management that does not require federal Part 107 (drone pilot) licenses or a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA.
- Scalable Aerial Situational Awareness: Traditional drone programs require public safety teams to call trained pilot teams to each scene they are deployed in. As a result, response times are slowed down by the availability of pilots on-scene. Fotokite technology enables scalable aerial scene awareness without the need for pilots on-scene, providing law enforcement the ability to gain instant situational awareness and incident records early in a response, when it matters most.
“This partnership with Fotokite is a game-changer for how our law enforcement customers view, assess and respond to crisis situations in real-time,” says Axon CPO and EVP Software, Jeff Kunins. “This program will be a great addition for agencies with already existing drone programs as it allows for a greater breadth of incident coverage. For agencies that have not yet deployed a drone program, this a great and simple way to get started.”
“We’re thrilled to partner exclusively with Axon in delivering a purpose-built tool to first responders in the public safety community. Our actively tethered UAS technology will directly serve Axon’s customers with the integrated product they need,” says Fotokite CEO, Christopher McCall. “Whether the use case is traffic control, vehicular accident scene management, search and rescue or routine patrol, users can simply press one button to receive a live-streamed bird’s eye view of an incident.”
The Fotokite system is designed for public safety and will be available to law enforcement customers in the US and Canada exclusively through the Axon Air program beginning in 2021. Pricing details will be announced in advance of the launch.