North Carolina State Agency Improving Operations with Drones

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s award-winning Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program, part of the Division of Aviation, is collaborating with state agency teams to integrate the use of UAS, or drones, in ways that optimize operations, improve safety and save tax dollars.

Drones are being used by the N.C. Department of Public Safety to reconstruct highway collisions more quickly, safely and cost-effectively than traditional methods. The NCDOT’s Environmental Analysis Unit uses drones for targeted herbicide spraying to control invasive species on National Park Service land. Using drones for this task minimizes the amount of herbicide required and limits human foot traffic on sensitive wetlands.

Meanwhile, a growing number of other NCDOT units are using drones to enhance operations ranging from transportation infrastructure inspection, project monitoring and landslide damage assessments to coastal shoreline mapping and endangered species counts.

Drone-captured images helped transportation officials inspect infrastructure, and plan and monitor repairs. Drones proved extraordinarily useful during Hurricanes Florence and Dorian in 2018 and 2019. Drones teams deployed in hard-hit areas captured more than 10,000 images and live streamed data in real time to help emergency officials monitor roadways and bridges to reroute traffic away from flooded and dangerous areas.

Explore Infrastructure Innovations

  • State Examples: Relieving Congestion to Boost Economic Competitiveness
  • State Examples: Protecting America’s Critical Infrastructure
  • State Examples: Eliminating Red Tape and Integrating Smart Technology
  • State Examples: Leveraging Private Sector Investments