JACKSONVILLE, Fla – A local agency is one of the few places in the state licensed to fly drones.
Action News found not one, but two drones available for the Army Corps of Engineers, based on Jacksonville’s Southbank.
Larry Taylor runs the only drone program for the Army Corps of Engineers. He showed the camera to Action News recently.
The $100,000 remote-controlled plane can snap and store hundreds of GPS pinpointed photographs from a camera on the bottom of the aircraft.
The Corps uses the 11-pound plane to monitor levees, dams and wildlife.
At least three law enforcement agencies in the state also have FAA licenses to fly drones: the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
A new state law will limit when they can use their unmanned aerial vehicles. They must obtain a search warrant before putting a drone up unless there is an immediate deadly threat or a high risk for a terrorist attack.
The Army Corps of Engineers has to follow an Federal Aviation Administration-approved flight plan, and keep their drone in sight whenever they use it.
Action News also talked with researchers at the University of Florida
who use a drone to monitor wildlife around the state.