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"...there's a great affinity between writing poetry and SF."
- Dan Simmons

Copseyes  
  A small floating "eye-in-the-sky" surveillance drone used by police in an extensive park.  

In this near-future story, areas are set aside as anarchy zones. Police use a special kind of remote surveillance drone to ensure that there is no physical violence, but are otherwise uninvolved.

Someone at police headquarters had expected that. Twice the usual number of copseyes floated overhead, waiting. Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up. Each a television eye and a sonic stunner, each a hookup to police headquarters, they were there to enforce the law of the Park...

Within King's Free Park was an orderly approximation of anarchy. People were searched at the entrances. There were no weapons inside. The copseyes, floating overhead and out of reach were the next best thing to no law at all.

There was only one law to enforce. All acts of attempted violence carried the same penalty for attacker and victim. Let anyone raise his hand against his neighbor, and one of the golden basketballs would stun them both.

They would wake separately, with copseyes watching. It was usually enough. No violence.

From Cloak of Anarchy, by Larry Niven.
Published by Analog in 1972
Additional resources -

This story is an interesting exploration of the concept of anarchy in a real setting. Makes for an interesting contrast with the same kind of setting in Robert Heinlein's Coventry (if you did not agree to live up to the rules of society, you were given the choice to live with the asocials in a fenced-in environment).

Bruce Sterling wrote about this technology in his 1993 story Deep Eddy:

At 08:00 a police drone attempted to clear the park. It flew overhead, barking robotic threats in five languages. Everyone simply ignored the machine.

Remote drones are under development to serve a variety of purposes.

The Traffic Surveillance Drone project in Georgia has a ducted fan drone under development; it uses an aluminum chassis with a carbon composite body structure to provide stability.

You might also want to check out the endearing entry for little bird, from Darwin's Children by Greg Bear.

Compare to the raytron apparatus from Beyond the Stars (1928) by Ray Cummings, the scarab robot flying insect from The Scarab (1936) by Raymond Z. Gallun, the artificial eye drone from Glimpse (1938) by Manly Wade Wellman, eyes from This Moment of the Storm (1966) by Roger Zelazny, the Ultraminiature Spy-Circuit from The Unknown (1972) by Christopher Anvil, the sky ball from A Day For Damnation (1985) by David Gerrold, the drone floater camera from Runaway (1985) by Michael Crichton, the aerostat monitor from The Diamond Age (1995) by Neal Stephenson, the loiter drone from The Algebraist (2004) by Iain Banks and the bee cam from City of Pearl (2004) by Karen Traviss.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cloak of Anarchy
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to Cloak of Anarchy
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Copseyes-related news articles:
  - Eye Ball R1 Remote Surveillance Camera
  - SkySeer UAV Drone Soars Over L.A.
  - Small Robot Surveillance Balloons Like Niven's Copseye
  - Hovering Crowd Control Beam
  - Police iDrone UAVs With Tasers
  - Miami-Dade Police First To Use UAV Drones?
  - Spherical Flying Robot Hovers, Flies At 40 MPH
  - CUPID Intercept Drone Like Niven's Copseye
  - GimBall Indoor Search Drone From Flyability
  - Pepper Spray Drones Do Crowd Control For Indian Police
  - 3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
  - Armed Drone Opens Fire
  - DIY Armed UAV (Toy)
  - Kazahk Ironist Protester Arrested For Blank Sign Protest
  - A Passing Drone Has Covid-19 Advice
  - Portsmouth, OH Residents Don't All Favor Drone Surveillance
  - Florida Man Felt Harassed By Drone, Shoots It Down

Articles related to Surveillance
New Train Station Offers Minority Report-Style Signs
'Ring Nation' Show Predicted By William Gibson In 1999
The Wanderer: Eyebot From Fallout, Eye From Zelazny
Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers

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