Categories

The Dallas Morning News: “Chaotic Moon Puts Eyes in the Sky for Traffic Stops”

18 Sep 2015

We’re excited to introduce PROJECT BLUE EYES, a surveillance drone prototype designed to capture video of police engagements from a bird’s eye view—and The Dallas Morning News was excited to write about it. Read their story below or click here to view it on their site.

And for more information, check out the official Blue Eyes site!

DRONES DON’T LIE: CHAOTIC MOON PUTS EYES IN THE SKY FOR TRAFFIC STOPS

Grainy videos of cops and suspects are changing the way we think about police encounters. Imagine those scenes from a birds-eye view, recorded 30 feet in the air.

That’s the idea behind Blue Eyes, a camera-wielding drone that fastens to the top of a police cruiser and launches on command.

At a police stop, the drone can hover above the scene, recording the action and sending live images to headquarters. When the encounter ends, Blue Eyes returns to its landing pad to recharge and ship its video to the cloud.

The prototype was developed by Chaotic Moon Studios, an Austin tech firm whose past drones could spray-paint graffiti, fire a Taser and shoot flames.

“Criminals lie, bad cops lie – humans lie. But drones don’t,” CEO Ben Lamm said in a release announcing the project. “With Blue Eyes, you’ll get an accurate account of every encounter, every time.”

Blue Eyes has been under development for about five months. The company hasn’t started offering the drone to police departments and said it hasn’t developed a “go-to market” strategy yet.

Chaotic Moon also hasn’t formally discussed the drone with police departments and city governments, a spokesman said. But while filming the drone in action, Austin policemen continually stopped by and gave it a thumbs up, he added.

In a video of the drone, linked above, the company makes a point of saying Blue Eyes is neither pro-cop nor pro-suspect.

It’s “pro-people and captures the whole picture objectively, from the air,” the video states.

Increasingly, police are being recorded by dashboard cameras and by cell phones held by citizens. After several police shootings led to nationwide protests, many cities are considering body cams for officers.

By comparison, cameras on a drone can document events more clearly and thoroughly, and can add infrared capabilities.

“There needs to be a better way to hold everyone — cops and citizens — accountable,” the company said.

Costs could be a major issue. Cities are wrestling with how to pay for body cams and store the endless streams of video.

Blue Eyes is currently designed to stay near its host vehicle and record aerial footage. But eventually, the company said, it could be outfitted as a chase vehicle, using the camera to track a target and stream live video to officers who are in pursuit.

Chaotic Moon, which started in 2010, develops leading edge hardware and software and is in the process of staffing up a major operation in downtown Dallas. It was sold to consulting giant Accenture in July, and said the move would accelerate its global growth plans.

The company is known as a creative technology studio because it develops so many things, including one-of-a-kind products that don’t have an obvious market. Much of its drone development seemed designed to draw media attention, especially during Austin’s South by Southwest festivals.

The drones always get plenty of air time on cable TV and the Internet. And the company is figuring out real-world applications. For instance, a chemical firm wants to use a Chaotic Moon drone to treat wasp nests that are several stories high, the spokesman said.