Axon Air at 2023 WM Phoenix Open
February is a busy time for Scottsdale, Arizona, as the city plays host to the Waste Management (WM) Phoenix Open, the highest-attended golf tournament on the PGA Tour. An event of this magnitude requires a vast amount of security resources, and 2023 posed a special challenge: The Super Bowl was scheduled for the same week, also in Arizona, only 30 miles from the Waste Management Open. The WM Phoenix Open is so large that each year, temporary buildings and checkpoints extending well beyond the standard borders of the golf course and resort are erected, meaning several miles of event perimeter to oversee, in addition to general crowd monitoring.
With the potential for strained security resources between the two behemoth sporting events, Axon New Ventures joined forces with Axon Aid, Axon Air, Scottsdale Police Department, and Thunderbirds Charities to accomplish a first-of-its-kind aerial security proof of concept. Throughout the operation, Axon leveraged tools and technology from Arizona State University’s Luminosity Lab, FUSUS, Axon Air powered by DroneSense and Dedrone to ensure local police departments had the resources they needed to provide a safe and fun environment for The Open.
Axon Aid and key Axon Air personnel ran operations for the duration of the WM Open, working cross-functionally in conjunction with Thunderbirds Charities, Scottsdale PD, the PGA Tour and the FAA. The FAA granted Axon Aid a waiver to fly drones within this airspace, which allowed the team to fly both manual and Axon Air Remote Drone as First Responder (DFR) missions to provide video security of the event, as well as coverage of outlying areas, like parking lots. Dedrone enabled the team to detect, track, identify, and mitigate unauthorized drone activity.
During the operation, Axon leveraged Dedrone to detect several unauthorized drone operations and inform the police of their presence.
But at the end of the day, seeing the tech work together was everything we hoped it would be. That was the biggest challenge. We know all of these things work independently. How do they work together? The answer was ‘pretty darned well.
Karl Schultz, VP of Axon New Ventures