Many Uses for Autonomous Drones

California’s Chula Vista Police Department is on the leading edge in using autonomous drones to respond to emergencies. As The New York Times reports, the department’s “drones can cover about one-third of the city from two launch sites, responding to roughly 70 percent of all emergency calls” and the department is hoping to get authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration for a third launch site, to cover the entire city.

The drones can’t launch themselves or go on missions without authorization. We’re not in Terminator territory yet. As the Times reports:

Government regulations require that a certified pilot remain on the roof of the Police Department, overseeing the launch and, together with a police officer at a command station inside the building, handling most of the flying once the drone reaches its destination.

In December, the FAA approved regulations allowing operators of small drones to fly over people and at…