WOOD RIVER, Neb. (KSNB) – Law enforcement agencies have been using drones for decades but the Nebraska State Patrol finally hopped on the bandwagon and bought 18 of them for the crash team.
“The drones are a new project in which the state patrol began about a year ago that we started implementing,” said Trooper Matt Maus.
These drones, called the Autel Evo Drone, are going to cut clearing accidents and road closures by half. They can take up to 250 pictures in under five minutes.
“We’re implementing a quick clearance program and that quick clearance program is taking our on scene time and road closure time down to two and a half hours using what our traditional means were prior to the drone program down to just about 45 minutes,” Maus said.
Before the department used to use a different machine to do what they call scene mapping. Operators would have to manually identify points to measure and then physically go to each point to record and create a hand-drawn diagram. Now with these drones, it does it all for them.
“This higher end software allows for an actual 3D point cloud rendering of that scene in 3D, so if there’s a 3D elements to that crash, a line of sight issues, those kind of things, we can actually generate a 3D point cloud from those same photographs,” said Lt. Brent Bockstadter.
Ever minute a road is closed during an accident, it costs industries a significant amount of money. So since the drones helps clear accidents faster, they’re also cost effective.
“In our analysis of the 2019, crashes that we worked and had we been using the same technology last year as we are this year, it would be projected at an almost $2 million savings to both the commercial industry and the motoring public.”
19 certified pilots continued with their four-day training at the Husker Harvest Days location in Wood River on Thursday to get well-versed on the drones. Troopers told Local4 News they were user friendly and easy to use.
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