Easy Aerial, creator of military grade drone-in-a box solutions, recently presented its plans for the New York Soteria Project with a goal of putting an “eye in the sky” to enhance security across New York City. Easy Aerial seeks to put drones on rooftops in the city, in particular in areas of high crime. Easy Aerials drone solutions are already being used by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Mexican border, as well as by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) along the border at the Gaza Strip in Israel. Most recently, Easy Aerial’s drones were used by the IDF and Israeli police to search for people trapped inside Tel Aviv buildings hit by rockets.

The New York City Fire Department will see Easy Aerial demonstrations this week and the company is hoping to do the same for the New York City Police Department in the near future. While many law enforcement agencies have been using drones in the last few years, this solution is different; instead of an operator flying the drone, the drone takes off by itself, flies the entire mission on its own, returns on its own, and recharges itself in a portable box. Think of it being like a Roomba or iRobot.

Of course, if drones are used in this way, many privacy groups warn of the potential for police overreach and civil liberties violations. On the flip side, as crime rates spike, drones could potentially help improve public safety in metropolitan areas like New York. In order to win public trust and confidence in the use of drones in this manner,  a balance between privacy and safety will need to be struck. Finding that balance is the next hurdle.