Automated drones could respond to active shooter

Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-22 11:59:16-04

Two metro companies have teamed up and developed a way to automatically launch drones to help first responders whenever there's an emergency.

The recent tragedies in San Bernardino, California, and in Hesston, Kansas, show how each second counts when responding to an active shooter. Advances in technology are now pushing it to the next level. 

"Right now the idea is you go get a drone and you would fly it around at your disaster site, frankly that is too slow," Casey Adams, owner of the Kansas City Drone Company, said.

That's why Adams has partnered with another Kansas City company, Machine Halo.

"What were able to do is were able to put a probability on what the type of threat is," Isaiah Blackburn, founder of Machine Halo, said.

The companies have developed software for automated drones that can help law enforcement respond faster to active shooters or natural disasters.

"We're taking motion detectors, gunshot detectors, all sorts of things like social media, we're taking all those pieces and tying them together in real time," Jonathan Wagner, chief technology officer at Machine Halo, said.

The new technology will be demonstrated at next week's Smart City Tech Summit hosted by Think Big Partners.

"Public safety is everyone's problem, it's a growing problem in cities worldwide," Herb Sih, co-founder at Think Big Partners, said.

Public safety was a top priority at the massive Royals championship parade last fall.

"No one is perfect but I think that we did a fantastic job for that parade," Mike Grigsby, the IT director at KCPD, said.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department will have its commanders attend the summit to observe see the technology in action.

The automated drone's camera will provide a live video feed directly fed into the department's command center. 

"It'll be an intense demonstration but it will be a real showcase of what the capabilities and what the technology is moving to," Grigsby said.

The Smart City Tech Summit takes places from next Tuesday through Thursday and is open to the public. For more information, click here.


Andres Gutierrez can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter

Connect on Facebook