Privacy Safety & Ethics

Paladin’s Commitment to Privacy, Safety, and Ethics


Our company was founded with the goal of changing the way first responders approach a situation. In professions in which the stakes are high, the pressure is intense, and quick decisions can be the difference between saving a home, de-escalating a situation, and protecting the public, information is paramount. We set out to create the future of first response – by changing the first responder to a fully autonomous drone – equipped with a best in-class camera. With this incredible tool comes a responsibility to uphold the public’s privacy and ensure that they feel comfortable as well as safer. We take this very seriously. This tool is intended to be used to help first responders and the communities they protect and serve. Below are some common questions and answers about privacy, safety, and ethics which we strive to embody and hope they serve as a guide to set a standard in the drone industry as a whole.

Questions About Our Privacy, Safety, and Ethics



If a drone is flying overhead, is it recording me?

The drone takes off vertically to an altitude of 200ft (depending on local restrictions). The drone then flies at around 35 mph to the destination of the 911 call. Once there, the drone camera angles down and begins surveying the scene. From the drones home base to the location of the call, the drone cannot see specific details nor is it looking down. The only situation in which the drone camera will be angled down while traveling to the destination is if the caller cannot accurately identify and/or communicate the location of the situation or there is a search underway. In this case, the drone is not patrolling the city but searching for information that will help protect the community and its first responders. When the drone is returned to home (RTH), the camera angles back to a straight view and is again unable to see and record what it is flying above. Departments have the ability to record the entire call or to toggle recording on and off based on city and department policies. Whether recording or not, Paladin is very strict in that if the camera is angled down while moving, there must be a 911 emergency in which the drone is being used to assist first responders.

Does Watchtower include facial recognition technology?

Watchtower does not have facial recognition.

Where and how is the footage stored?

If a flight is being recorded, the department has the option to store it on the cloud or on physical servers. The Watchtower system has automatic flight logging to help departments stay organized, and each flight that is recorded can be found in the log. 

Who has access to the live video feed?

Watchtower uses login passwords to control access, and the levels of use are controlled via different permission settings, including the options of view only, or being allowed to control the drone and the camera. Users can view the live feed and recordings on a smartphone or computer, ensuring that multiple first responders get quick overview of dynamic situations, and can respond proportionally.


Who can fly the drone?

Only trained pilots are allowed to be the pilot in command (PIC). They are allowed to transfer control however unlicensed persons cannot operate the UAS like a normal drone. Our platform has different levels of control that provide unlicensed and unexperienced people very simple controls that are still very effective at gathering intelligence.

What if the UAS flies away?

The drone has numerous built-in safety features to prevent flyaways. If the drone loses connection to the LTE network for longer than 5 seconds, it automatically returns to home. In the event of a flyaway happening, the drone is capable of controlled descent.

What if the UAS crashes into a tall obstruction?

The drone has a predesignated altitude based on the tall buildings and trees around the operatioonal area. The map on the right hand side of the flight page demarcates tall obstructions. The red circle indicate a geofance in which the drone cannot passt hrough. The grey circles indicate a tall obstruction so the pilot knows about it in the event of an altitude change.

The black overlay demonstrates to the PIC the limits to where the UAS may go and is the geofence. The grey circles are taller objects but are not a direct danger to the UAS. The red circle indicates a geofence due to an obstruction that would directly interfere with UAS operations, for example, a tall building. If a drone crosses a boundary, it avoids the geofence and/or can auto-RTH.

Can the UAS crash into another aircraft?

While we plan each departments operation meticulously, mapping out local airports and helicopter activity in coordination with the FAA, we ensure that there are officers around to watch the sky for intruding manned aviation, who can communicate with the pilot in command and ensure that they are aware of any unusual obstacles in the airspace.

Will the UAS crash if it runs out of battery?

The Paladin software algorithm activates an autonomous return to home with enough reserve battery charge to handle extraneous landing conditions. Once it lands, the batteries are changed, and it is prepared again for take-off.


Does Paladin make weaponized drones?

No, Paladin has not, nor will it engage in adding weapons (including teargas) to its drones and prohibits the use of the Knighthawk for any use that entails causing physical harm to humans, including using drones to interrogate humans. We believe in drones as de-escalatory tools with the purpose of providing first responders with life saving information.

Are the drones used for routine police patrols?

This topic is very important to Paladin. The answer is never. Public safety agencies are not allowed to use the Paladin DFR system for routine patrolling. When a 911 call following an emergency has occurred, the Knighthawk can be deployed to get a live video feed. If there is not a call corresponding to the launch in the department’s CAD, it is against Paladin’s policies to use our technology.

Do the departments Paladin works with communicate they are using drones to their local communities?

Yes. We encourage the departments using our system to reach out to their local communities and share information on how using drones will benefit them. Some cities also require city council approval before departments start drone programs, providing another layer of accountability.

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