SANTIAGO, Chile, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Hot air balloons began patrolling parts of Chile's capital, Santiago, on Thursday which has suffered from various violent attacks in the past few months.
The balloons will monitor the localities of Las Condes and Lo Barnechea from 500 feet in the air. Each hot air balloon is bulletproof, 16 feet in diameter and equipped with a 360 degree camera that can cover 30 blocks at a time.
Each balloon can fly autonomously for 48 hours, and can recognize individuals and vehicles that are miles away. The camera is equipped with night vision and enhanced visibility in snow and rain.
Multiple groups have invested almost $500,000 to develop the balloons, with management stations slated to be operative 24/7 and staffed fully by women.
Residents approved of the balloons and said their installation in other places should be considered.
Some have criticized the effort for being too resource intensive. Amongst these critics is Alejandra Mohr, coordinator for the University of Chile's center for citizen safety studies. Mohr argues that despite the technology's wide range of vision, the likelihood of being able to pay attention to the entire field of vision at all times is not high.