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State DOTs Double Down On Deploying Drones

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Upper5Percent, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. Upper5Percent

    Mar 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Multiple state DOTs are seriously examining the use of drones to help improve road safety thanks in large part to mounting data from numerous state-funded studies.

    A survey published in March and conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials found that 33 state DOTs are already exploring, researching, testing or using drones for multiple tasks. The most common use so far is inspecting bridges.

    According to a fact sheet prepared by the AASHTO, to perform an average bridge inspection it generally costs around $4,600, causes lane closures, uses heavy equipment, and puts workers at risk. Now though, two workers using an infrared or HD camera-equipped drone can get the task done faster and with no lane closures for around $250.

    “Our first study looked at the viability [of drones], and what we found out is that the unmanned aerial vehicle provided a mechanism to keep our workers out of harm’s way,” said Steven Cook, the Engineer of Operations and Maintenance for Michigan’s DOT according to AASHTO. “A traditional bridge inspection, for example, typically involves setting up work zones, detouring traffic and using heavy equipment. The UAVs can get in and get out quickly, capturing data in near real-time and causing less distraction and inconvenience to drivers.”

    Bridge inspections aren’t the only task that state DOTs are thinking of using drones for however. They also are looking in to using them to monitor traffic.

    And this may be just the beginning of uses for drones within transportation. The Michigan DOT is beginning a two-year study into drone uses following up on an 18-month study they already performed with the Michigan Tech Research Institute.

    State DOTs Double Down On Deploying Drones - TruckersReport.com
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