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NY Post
New York Post
21 Oct 2023


NextImg:NYPD getting tricked-out van to track down illegal drones, fight terror

The NYPD is in an agreement to buy a space-age-looking drone-detection vehicle to thwart possible terror attacks from above, The Post has learned.

The department plans to buy the customized “Trident Series Command Center with Drone Detection nodes” from Florida-based Flymotion, according to a public solicitation.

“The vehicle being customized by Flymotion allows NYPD to be vigilant against the hazard posed by the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones, especially amongst those who will place an explosive or dispersal device on the UAS with the intent of causing harm,” the notice published in the Sept. 26 issue of the city’s legal record states.

The Trident vehicle, which is designed to serve as a mobile drone command center, reportedly cost about $300,000 when it was first unveiled in 2016.

It’s not clear how much the customized version would cost today.

On the inside, the converted Mercedes-Benz van has two large flat-panel displays that can show video feeds from two to four different sources.

A drone was seen flying over buildings in NYC.
Sonja – stock.adobe.com
A look inside of a Flymotion vehicle is seen above.
YouTube FLYMOTION

The cops can control NYPD drones from inside the vehicle and broadcast what they display back to headquarters or elsewhere.

One former NYPD officer said the agency needs to keep up with new technology to keep the public safe.

“The privacy people will be jumping up and down as usual, but the thing is these drones in the wrong hands could pose a threat to the general public,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

It’s not clear if the vehicle would contain technology to disable drones, which would be problematic in a city where people could be injured by crashing drones or falling debris.

The NYPD said it was “examining the possibility” of purchasing the truck.

“To continue to safeguard our city, it is essential to explore ways technology can support the NYPD’s mission,” an NYPD spokesperson said.

A high-ranking police source said technology to take down drones could eventually be added.

The Trident vehicle, which is designed to serve as a mobile drone command center, reportedly cost about $300,000 when it was first unveiled in 2016.
YouTube FLYMOTION

“There’s an indication the feds will give some major cities the same authorities the feds have to interdict non-permitted drones,” the source said.

It is illegal to fly a drone in most places in New York City and operators have been fined.

Local law enforcement agencies aren’t currently permitted to destroy drones.

The department plans to buy the customized “Trident Series Command Center with Drone Detection nodes” from Florida-based Flymotion, according to a public solicitation.
jovannig – stock.adobe.com

But a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers announced a bill in June that would authorize some agencies through a pilot program to take dangerous drones down, one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) said.

“Drone technology is only getting better, frankly, it’s only getting smaller, it’s only getting cheaper,” the Air Force veteran said. “We need to make sure that we’re addressing this issue for all of those kinds of vulnerable places, like New York.”