The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) has launched a new drone program to quickly and efficiently clear roadways while conducting thorough crash investigations.

The program aims to clear out crash sites quickly and efficiently while maintaining the high-level investigations state troopers already perform. According to the NSP, clearing a scene faster means roads can open sooner, saving time and money for travelers and the trucking industry and hopefully preventing secondary crashes.

The program will include the work of crash reconstruction investigators throughout the state who have completed the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 certification as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators and undergone additional levels of training specific to utilizing the UAVs for 3-D mapping of crash scenes.

“This technology brings NSP crash investigations to a new level,” said program coordinator Lt. Brent Bockstadter in a press release. “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.”

Currently, the NSP has 19 certified drone pilots based in troop areas throughout the state, and is already getting to work.  In recent weeks, training flights and reconstruction mapping tests have been conducted, and the drone program has already been used to investigate several crash scenes across the state.

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