Use of Drones Gaining Ground with State DOTs

DroneA March 2018 survey by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) found that Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones are being used by 80 percent of state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) that responded to the survey (35 of 44 respondents).

According to an AASHTO  news release by Tony Dorsey, Media Relations Manager on March 27, 2018, another 15 state DOTs are in the testing phase to determine how best to utilize drones.

“This is another example of how state DOTs are advancing innovation to improve safety and productivity for the traveling public,” said Bud Wright AASHTO executive director. “Drones are being used to significantly cut the time it takes to gather data, which is leading to major time and cost savings.”

North Carolina was an early adopter of drone technology. In 2013 the state legislature designated NCDOT’s Division of Aviation to be the statewide authority for drone operations. Its UAS program aims to make drone technology available to DOT employees across the state.

“What we’re focusing on this spring is trying to get drones into the hands of employees in all 14 division offices in our state,” said Basil Yap, manager of NCDOT’s UAS Program. “We’re training our personnel and providing them with drones to meet their specific needs. By encouraging innovation from the ground up our employees will help NCDOT discover new applications for drone technology.”

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