OGDEN -- Ogden may soon have extra eyes in the sky.
City officials have been talking with the Utah Center for Aeronautical Innovation and Design at Weber State University about the development of a blimp equipped with a night-vision camera that would travel overhead at night.
"It's really an extra patrolman in the sky," said Bradley Stringer, director of UCAID.
Mayor Matthew Godfrey said during the city council meeting Tuesday that the Ogden Police Department intends to buy the unmanned blimp, which can be controlled with a remote control and can also fly autonomously in an auto-pilot type feature.
Though plans have been worked on for several months, Stringer said, there has not been any official contract or timeline set on the project yet.
"Everything has been oral at this point," he said.
Police Chief Jon Greiner said the blimp was "one of many options" the police department has considered. He said the plans are still in the preliminary stages, adding that he hasn't made any presentations or had discussions with the city council about the possibility of adding a blimp to the city's police force. He said he has been researching systems like this for the last two years.
Stringer said the blimp will be shaped like a cigar, 52 feet long and four feet in diameter. The night-vision video can be viewed in real-time at ground level, and the blimp can be moved if an area needs extra patrol or video surveillance.
"It would be unmanned, which is far less expensive than manned," he said. "It's a low-cost way to supplement patrolmen and other cameras."
The city already has several cameras throughout the area, Stringer said, but because they are stationary, they are not as beneficial as a blimp, which can be moved to any area that needs it.
Stringer said it is difficult to estimate how much the system would cost, because they still have not finalized exactly what kind of technology the police department would need to equip the blimp.
While this is not WSU's first video surveillance system -- they have created both fixed wing and rotary wing machines for clients in and out of state -- this will be the first time they are developing a lighter-than-air blimp surveillance model.