Michigan State Police create UAS program with Aeryon SkyRanger

By Emily Aasand | November 04, 2014

The Michigan State Police have chosen the Aeryon SkyRanger, small unmanned aerial system (sUAS), as the state-wide unmanned aircraft system (UAS) standard.

“It’s such a new technology that we believe it can enhance law enforcement in several different areas,” said First Lieutenant Chris Bush, commander field support and aviation section, Michigan State Police special operations division. “We’ll probably start out with some search and rescue calls, tactical calls and we’re looking at doing some mapping on our critical infrastructure in the state.”

The MSP is currently operating under a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration training certificate of authorization (COA) to train officers in a number of public safety scenarios, said Aeryon Labs Inc., developers of the SkyRanger. “The goal of the UAS program is to enable officers to operate the Aeryon SkyRanger in applications such as critical incident and natural disaster response, search and rescue, traffic accident reconstruction, as well as scene photography,” the company said.

“After the success of the UAS training scenarios, we look forward to receiving the operational COA for the entire state,” said Bush. “Our emergency response and investigation teams are anticipating the benefits of using the Aeryon SkyRanger in the field.”

“For the Michigan State Police agency to provide operational UAS capabilities for 83 counties is a significant deployment, especially with training operators who might not have previous experience flying unmanned systems,” said Dave Kroetsch, Aeryon Labs president and CEO. “We know that the Aeryon SkyRanger’s easy-to-use interface will help speed up the roll out process and ensure that first responders can gain critical field data quickly and accurately.”

Michigan is home to four of the top ten most violent cities in the country and the Michigan State Police said they hope to implement this new technology to help better those cities.

Aeryon Labs was recently in Florida to talk about how Michigan State Police have been incorporating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into public safety application.

“We were just at the International Association for Chief of Police trade show in Orlando, and it was really beneficial to tell other public safety organizations that Michigan State Police have been successful in getting the COA for training and that the FAA is giving approval to enable public safety organizations in the U.S. to use UAVs as one of their tools for public safety application,” said Andrea Sangster, senior marketing director.

The Aeryon SkyRanger is a vertical take-off and landing sUAS that has an integrated imaging payload for image capture as well as Pix4Dmapper software to enable field and office image processing, including integrated tools for 3D output visualization and editing.

The sUAS has a flight time of up to 50 minutes and a wind tolerance between 40 and 55 miles per hour.