Sheriff Peyton Grinnell and members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office accepted the donation of a Phantom 3 drone from Montverde Academy’s robotics team students. As part of their Vex Robotics Stem Research Project, Team Tech-noids researched ways in which robots can help local law enforcement. Through their research, they determined that drones can help with securing an area, and when equipped with a camera, can collect data from a safe distance helping officers make better-informed decisions.
Team Tech-noids, comprised of 7th and 8th grade students, Ethan Kaufman, Shaylan Ramlall, CJ Rosado, Shreyas Shakhamoori, Matthew Tollini, and Christopher Vitito, took their project a step further. They raised funds to provide the Lake County Sheriff’s Office with the donation of a Phantom 3 drone.
Lake County officers met the students at the Lake County Sheriff Gun Range to have a wide open space to test drive the drone. Ethan Kaufman, 8th grade student, walked Bomb Squad and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team members through the drone’s capabilities. The officers and students discussed the variety of ways that the drone would be useful in crisis situations as the drone buzzed above, demonstrating its maneuverability. Lake County officers plan to use the technology in situations that occur locally as well as regionally, as the SWAT team is often called to assist in emergencies throughout Lake County.
The team hopes to continue gathering data from the department about the drone’s effectiveness in order to share their findings about the use of drone technology with other first responders. Their research project won the Florida State Championship STEM Award, which earned them the opportunity to present this project in Kentucky at the World Championship competition in April.