Drones speed up crash investigations in North Carolina, report says

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Highway Patrol using drones to investigate crashes

The North Carolina Department of Transportation and State Highway Patrol demonstrated Friday how drones help them investigate collisions and shared a report detailing how drones lessen the time it takes to reconstruct a wreck.

"We're able to map a scene in around 25 minutes and traditional methods were just under two hours, so we think of how quickly now we can open the lanes of traffic back up to the public," said Basil Yap, UAS Program Manager for the NCDOT's Division of Aviation.

Drones provide aerial images of collisions and immediately transmit those images to a computer, eventually creating a 3-D image. Officials say drivers benefit from the new technology.

"They're going to help us to be able to clear highways up quicker and lessen out the burden for closed roadways, for everybody that travels throughout North Carolina," said First Sergeant Alex Justice, of the State Highway Patrol.

The NCHP has two drones and Sgt. Justice, who is the commander of the collision reconstruction unit, said they hope to expand the program by the beginning of next year.

NCDOT has six drones and is already finding multiple uses for them.

"We're utilizing those for documenting construction sites, traffic monitoring and helping with coastal erosion on the coast after a hurricane," Basil said. "They could use this drone to map traffic now, monitor traffic in the area and make appropriate changes at different exits to help expedite the flow of traffic in our state."

Law enforcement can also use the technology for search and rescue operations.

Drone Report
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