A Canadian police department has grounded its drone armada after a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) decided to fly off of its own accord during a test flight session held on Wednesday (26 July). In an ironic twist, the drone in question was one of a number of units designed to locate lost or missing people.
Ontario Provincial Police department confirmed the UAV went AWOL at roughly 2pm (7pm BST) in a statement. The test flight took place in a remote area of Southwold Township in the east-central province.
The test flight was performed to trial a software update to the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), but instead decided to head towards an unknown location via GPS and was unable to be recalled or operated after it locked onto its new destination while at a height of around 100 metres.
"The UAS decided it was done work and took off," Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Dave Rektor, told CBC Canada.
Following the embarrassing missing-persons-drone-going-missing debacle, Ontario Police decided to temporarily ground similar drone models. "All 11 of those have been grounded," continued Rektor. "The OPP does have four other models which are available in the meantime which we'll continue to use and help with other investigations."
As well as searching for persons of interest that have gone off the grid, the Rektor also noted that the drones are used to investigate traffic accidents. "They're definitely used quite extensively by the OPP across the province for a number of other things as well," he said.
Rather than suffering the further indignity of send drones out to find their lost counterpart, the department is asking for anyone who sees or finds the drone to come forward.