NYPD will deploy a drone at Times Square on New Year's Eve

It's the first time robotic aircraft have watched over the ball drop.

Security at Times Square tends to be extra-tight on New Year's Eve, but it's now poised to have some robotic support. The NYPD is deploying one of its new camera-toting drones at the event for the first time, giving it an aerial surveillance tool that's decidedly closer to the action than a conventional aircraft or helicopter. The machine will not only watch for trouble in the crowd, but wield "counter-drone technology" to keep potentially hostile vehicles at bay.

There hasn't been any credible terrorist threat against the event this year. This is really more of a litmus test for police drone use -- can they be useful for observing such large crowds? While it certainly won't be the only camera (there will be more than 1,200 of them watching NYE), it won't be surprising if you see more drones watching the ball drop going forward.