There’s literally a lot of buzz around the Super Bowl LIV this Sunday.
As the 49ers face off against the Chiefs this weekend, thousands of eager fans at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida might want to listen for something that sounds a bit like an overly aggressive lawn mower, or maybe a leaf blower. Game watchers will themselves be watched over by a hovering drone about twice the size of a football, deployed from its own, computer-controlled box — and built by a Brooklyn-based startup called Easy Aerial, as attendees go to and from the stadium.
"The system is used by the Miami Garden Police to provide security for the people coming to the event," Easy Aerial CEO and co-founder Ido Gur told.
For police, it’s “a bird’s eye view at 200 feet, with a good zoom camera and a good thermal camera,” according to Gur. He says the Miami Gardens Police Department in Florida will deploy Easy Aerial’s “Alpine Swift,” a four-rotor drone that boasts an assortment of cameras and hours of flight time through a tether. The drone is fully autonomous, capable of taking off, flying, and landing by itself. It even comes with its own little hangar called the Easy Guard, a computer-controlled box that whirs open on its own to make the drone ready for deployment.
At the first hint of trouble, the drone can deploy in under 30 seconds and point its camera into the crowd, providing police with a live overhead view using a combination of thermal optics, RGB, and even a 20x zoom camera. Gur says the drones are meant to replace the police watchtowers usually erected during big events ー a big selling point for the devices.
“Building a mast at 200 feet is very expensive and takes a lot of time,” said Gur. The Swift and its Guard box can be mounted on the bed of a pickup truck and moved around for easy deployment.
But all that innovation comes at a price. The drones themselves start at $12,000, with a complete system easily passing $100,000. The company says most of its business comes from the U.S. government.
The story was updated to clarify that the Easy Aerial drones will be deployed in the surrounding parking lot of the event.