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DronesTethered drone tested in securing Trump’s vacation golf course in New Jersey

Published 7 August 2017

DHS has announced it will test a tethered drone for surveillance over the Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey, where the president is on a 17-day vacation which started on Friday. Tethered drones fly at altitudes of 300-400 feet. The fly autonomously, but an operator on the ground can control the cameras.

DHS has announced it will test a tethered drone for surveillance over the Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey, where the president is on a 17-day vacation which started on Friday.

“The Proof of Concept will help determine the potential future use of tethered UAS in supporting the Agency’s protective mission,” says DHS in a statement.

Dronelife notes that DHS did not name amanufacturer in the statement, although Massachusetts-based CyPhy Worksis the industry leader in tethered drone technology. The company’s drones have been used in security missions at the Boston Marathon and other major public events.

“The tethered sUAS used in the Proof of Concept is operated using a microfilament tether that provides power to the aircraft and the secure video from the aircraft to the Operator Control Unit (OCU),” says the DHS. “The sUAS is equipped with electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) camera.”

Tethered drones fly at altitudes of 300-400 feet. The fly autonomously, but an operator on the ground can control the cameras.

DHS says that as part of the proof of concept, the Secret Service is conducting a “privacy impact assessment (PIA) to evaluate the privacy risks associated with tethered sUAS’s surveillance and image capturing capabilities.” As required by the PIA, residents and other people who live and work near the golf course and who may be captured by the drone’s cameras, have been notified. The PIA has a procedure for securing and destroying the drone-collected data after the test.