For some time now we’ve been advocating for longer flying times for unmanned multicopters, since this expanded capability will open up countless commercial opportunities. However, this capability is especially important in life and death situations which require that the vehicle stays in position to help first responders for extended periods of time. One of the most promising ideas so far has been the US-1, a quadcopter that can fly for over 90 minutes and stay on target as required.

The US-1, which presents a viable alternative to increase flying time, made its first public appearance at a police standoff at a Denny’s in Campbell, California at 2:10 PM on February 8th. Designed and manufactured by California-based Impossible Aerospace, the US-1 is equipped with thermal and optical sensors and a record-breaking 90-minute battery life. It provided a persistent and accurate aerial view of the perimeter, roof, and exits of the building, and helped lead to a peaceful arrest of a suspect.

“We are glad the situation is over and that the Campbell community and all involved are safe,” said Spencer Gore, CEO of Impossible Aerospace.

According to the Campbell police and SWAT authorities, the US-1 provided a regular perimeter scan and more consistent video footage than the county’s helicopter. The US-1 confirmed the precision of the SWAT teams’ strategies—which included using tear gas to force the suspect out of hiding and later using police canine—so the authorities could react and plan their next steps. The US-1’s persistent view informed officers that an open kitchen vent was quickly leaking tear gas, which allowed the SWAT team to adjust their strategy and succeed in a peaceful arrest.

"During critical incidents, real-time intelligence is extremely important," said Gary Berg, Police Captain in Campbell. "At this recent event involving a barricaded subject with a gun, Impossible Aerospace provided a piece of intelligence that our agency previously has never had access to. The use of the US-1 drone helped us optimize the safety of our officers and the community while providing valuable information to the command post through the live video feed. Fortunately, after almost 12 hours, the suspect was taken into custody safely. We are very appreciative of the assistance that Impossible Aerospace provided during this incident."

As issues of data security and privacy concerns grow, the demand for domestically-made aerospace technology continues to rise. Impossible Aerospace is negotiating partnerships with local governments, police forces and private customers alike, especially in situations where these concerns plus the need for higher flying time come together.

For a quick look at the US-1 in its initial test flight, watch the video below: