The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) is launching a new drone program that will help to get the roads cleared faster after an accident, while still allowing NSP investigators to conduct a thorough crash investigation. NSP has bought 18 Autel EVO drones and is deploying 19 certified drone pilots in troop areas throughout the state for drone-based accident reconstruction and mapping.
NSP says its crash reconstruction investigators have completed the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 certification as drone operators. In addition to that training, they have also undergone one more level of training designed specifically to utilize drones for 3D mapping of crash scenes.
Colonel John Bolduc, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, explains that the drone program combines new technology with the expertise already possessed by NSP crash reconstruction investigators. Stressing that program is a major step for his team, Bolduc says:
The goal of this program is to be able to clear crash scenes faster, while maintaining the high-level of investigations our troopers already perform. Clearing a scene faster means roads can open sooner, saving time and money for travelers and the trucking industry, and hopefully preventing secondary crashes.
Crash investigation drones at work
It’s worth noting that NSP has already conducted several training flights and reconstruction mapping tests at Husker Harvest Days near Wood River in recent weeks. In fact, the drone program has already proved useful while investigating several crash scenes across the state.
As Lieutenant Brent Bockstadter, coordinator of the drone program, explains:
This technology brings NSP crash investigations to a new level. Our investigators work to create the best possible visual representation of a crash scene. The new drones, coupled with state-of-the-art mapping systems, allow our investigators to gather investigative images and data in less than half the time it used to take.