As FAA Dithers , State DOT’s Using Drones For Economics & Safety
” As the FAA continues its never-ending struggle to publish a final rule for regulating drone flights in the U.S., states’ Departments of Transportation are finding value in drones at every turn.
An American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) study published last month found that 17 state Departments of Transportation had either used or tested drones for bridge inspection, accident assessment, surveying and risk mitigation and an additional 16 DOTs were either working on drone policies for their state or trying to get drone research projects started for infrastructure inspection.
At the forefront of AASHTO’s findings are Michigan and Minnesota.
In 2014, the Michigan DOT worked with the Michigan Tech Research Institute to confirm that drones were a safer, cheaper way to do bridge inspections.
Specifically, Cook said a manual inspection of a freeway bridge takes eight hours, four people (two inspectors and two traffic control personnel) and $4,600.
But with a drone equipped with an infrared camera, the Michigan DOT found the job took two people two hours to complete the job and cost only $250.”