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Send in the drones

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 by Michael Kanin

At Tuesday’s work session, the City Council discussed a proposed interlocal agreement between the city and the Texas A&M University System to investigate potential future uses of unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones) and other robotics in emergency response situations. Austin Fire Department Assistant Chief Richard Davis stated that the agreement would have no fiscal impact on the city, and that “the technology has promise.” Davis explained that the goal of the four-year project is to have developed a plan for implementing the technology by its end. Council Member Bill Spelman, who requested the item, expressed concern about how the public might perceive such a project. He suggested that the Fire Department split the program into four, yearlong projects, with progress reports at the end of each year.

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