Two drones will buzz above a sea of 30,000 runners at this year’s Boston Marathon.
They’ll hover more than a football field’s distance above the starting line during the race, which takes place on April 17, and transmit surveillance video to different public safety stations.
Security has been a primary focus of race organizers since the blasts at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
“It’s really something new we’re going to be using where we have a very dense population of people between the village and the start line,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz.
The drones will keep watch over the area near the starting line, including the makeshift “village” where runners hang out in the minutes and hours leading up to the race, and the starting pens.
No need to worry about them whizzing out of control and crashing into people—the drones will be tied to cables and reportedly won’t fly over spectator areas. The bots come equipped with cameras that can zoom in on people and are capable of following specific targets.
The Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications drones were are made by CyPhy Works, a commercial drone company. Their drones recently performed a similar task for last year’s Tokyo Marathon.