Louisville selected to test drone technology with ShotSpotter

Louisville selected to test drone technology with ShotSpotter
The gunshot detection system uses sensors to find the location of gunfire within seconds.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The city of Louisville has been chosen to participate in a test that could lead to more crimes being solved using ShotSpotter technology.

The gr ant proposal would be tested in a six month time period. Louisville was chosen as a Championship City winner in the "2018 U.S. Mayor's Challenge" competition, and its grant proposal would be tested over a six-month time period.

This week, the Louisville innovators behind it are attending Bloomberg Philanthropies camp in New York to find out more. The Bloomberg contest provides up to $100,000 for the testing. More than 300 cities applied, but only 35 were chosen. Louisville and Hartford, Conn., are the two cities that will test ShotSpotter technology innovations.

Louisville's proposal looks like this: After the ShotSpotters notify police of gunshots, drones with cameras would be dispatched to those areas within 90 seconds to be able to help investigators with evidence like cars or people fleeing crime scenes. Currently, Louisville's entrepreneurs do not have permission to fly the drones within Louisville airspace, but they are working on getting that approval in a separate FAA gr ant process.

"The special program the FAA just released would give us permission to fly drones at night, over people, beyond visual line of sight using very special waivers that they have never gr anted before," Louisville Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology Grace Simrall said.

Simrall added her team won't know until at least early May if they'll be gr anted that approval. If they get it, they could fly in June or July. If they don't, they would fly drones in a testing phase and simulate receiving the coordinates, outside of Louisville, possibly at regional airports.

The drones they're looking at would be able to operate beyond visual line of sight, so they would know how to fly to the coordinates at the right elevation. Real-time crime center analysts will be the operators.

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