The solution: Partnership to provide coverage
Heading into 2023, Axon New Ventures proposed a security plan that would provide the Thunderbirds with bolstered security at no cost while also providing an invaluable live test case for Axon New Ventures’ aerial robotic security system, featuring a full suite of products and solutions from the Axon ecosystem.
“We started planning this idea two years ago,” Karl explains. “We thought this would be a great opportunity. It's local, and the Super Bowl was also scheduled to happen around the same time on the other side of town. We knew these events would be a drain on resources for law enforcement, and we wanted to help."
Axon New Ventures partnered with Axon Aid, Axon’s corporate social responsibility arm, to make this idea into reality.
Security Operations Centers
The first major piece of Axon New Ventures’ aerial security system was two Security Operations Centers to help Scottsdale PD manage security during the event. Axon HQ, located within a few miles of TPC Scottsdale, served as the main hub for drone operations in North Scottsdale, while Axon Voyager, a 40-foot tractor-trailer kitted out with TVs and communication equipment, would oversee foot traffic south of the event in Old Town Scottsdale.
These operations centers were hooked into Scottsdale PD and TPC Scottsdale security feeds. By scanning QR codes provided through the Axon Air powered by DroneSense platform, officers could instantly pull up a live security feed from Axon drones on any smart device. And increased situational awareness through Axon Respond enabled Scottsdale PD to respond to situations quickly and with up-to-date information.
In addition to Security Operations Centers, Axon needed a flexible solution to help monitor the event from a bird’s-eye view. That’s where the ASU Luminosity Lab came in. They developed a fleet of balloons fitted with a suite of cameras and sensors that could be deployed across event grounds for the duration of the tournament.
“The balloons were a brilliant addition from the Luminosity Lab,” Karl explains. “Each balloon was outfitted with a super high-fidelity camera and a secure, water-proof Pelican case to house the balloon’s battery and electronics.”
The Luminosity Lab built a dozen balloons and branded them with logos featuring event sponsors. They then deployed them around the city to provide Axon, Thunderbirds Charities and Scottsdale PD with an aerial view of event traffic at the WM Open and the most congested areas in Downtown Scottsdale.
In addition to the broad event security coverage provided by ASU’s balloons, Axon Aid deployed several traditional and tethered drones to surveil the event. This drone coverage was truly the core of Axon New Ventures’ proof of concept security operation.
Axon Aid is no stranger to drone operations. Axon Aid has a disaster response program that provides no-cost support to first responders and their communities in the aftermath of devastating natural disasters. This program includes an emergency response team of FAA Part 107-trained drone pilots who are skilled at operating drone technology in difficult conditions and terrains. Thanks to this expertise, Axon Aid was well-equipped to manage drone operations during the event.
“Axon Aid is Axon’s charitable arm,” Karl says. “But the emergency response team is the one that responds to hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters around the United States to support law enforcement agencies and communities. In this case, we suspected that there would be a significant demand for drone operations. When you look at who flies drones at Axon, Axon Aid is the epicenter of our Part 107 pilot cadre.”