Ongoing project. This report will "examine how agencies and their contractors are using UAS to facilitate for inspection, inventory, survey, and other operations and dealing with regulatory and other impediments to UAS deployment." Source: NCHRP 20-68A US Domestic Scan Program page
"NCHRP is currently preparing to conduct a ‘scan’ by visiting users of UAS technology and document details of their specific applications. During this scan, the NCHRP team will meet with individuals who represent state DOTs and their partners involved in UAS operations to assess and document the effectiveness of the technology. It is expected that the scan will provide an opportunity to develop the best practices of UAS technology as well as to determine anticipated return on investment and benefits to the surface transportation. The scan is expected to be completed in October 2018." Source: 2018 TRB Annual Meeting Paper
2018 TRB Annual Meeting Paper 18-03694. Primary author: Michael Plotnikov (Univ of Mass at Amherst).This survey combines the results of earlier surveys from MassDOT (2016), KDOT (2015/2016) and AASHTO (2016).
As a part of the study, a nationwide survey was conducted to identify and understand how State DOTs have considered and implemented UAS related policies, procedures, and applications in their day to day activities and operations. Similar studies by other research groups were also reviewed and analyzed to determine what State DOTs have done in the area of UAS applications.” Full text available to TRB Sponsor Agencies. See detailed charts for level of adoption for survey respondents and applications under study or performed.
Published by MoDOT June 2018. Examined both national UAS adoption and evaluated five states (IA, KS, MN, ND, OK) within our mid-central US region. The state research focused more narrowly on the states’ strategies, policies, activities, and the role of state agencies regarding UAS adoption.
Researchers evaluated these findings along with the UAS ecosystem in Missouri, identified strategic opportunities and developed recommendations that may help accelerate Missouri’s adoption of UAS, while promoting economic growth and preparing Missouri for future UAS opportunities.
MassDOT. Published December 2016 (survey conducted September 2016)
30 state DOTs responded, among which 11 were considering using UASs, seven were considering purchasing a UAS once regulations allow for commercial use, six had submitted requests for a Certificate of Authorization (COA) exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and four DOTs claimed to be utilizing UAS technology, but none was using UASs in its operations.
6 of the 14 state DOTs that responded have deployed UAS applications.
Most pertinent questions asked: What types of missions do you fly in each Division; What types of software/applications are used to process collected data; What experiences have they had with those software packages.
Their data was combined with the data obtained from the earlier studies conducted by KDOT and AASHTO.
Applied or tested UASs: AL, CA, CO, CT, KY, NH, OH, SC, VT, WA
Sponsored UAS research: AR, DE, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, MD, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OR, TN, UT
Also indicate states with other UAS activities and where no information was found.
"This report includes a literature review which lists the commercial companies currently using UASs after gaining a Certificate of Authorization (COA) exemption and research done by other DOTs … A survey was created and sent to all state Department of Transportation offices.”
This video captured at AASHTO’s 2019 Spring Meeting in Park City, Utah, provides coverage of a major topic of discussion at this year meeting: drones. Watch a demonstration of some of the latest drone technology and hear from Carlos Braceras, executive director of the Utah DOT and AASHTO’s 2018-2019 president about the release of AASHTO’s new UAS/Drone survey.
The survey found that practically all state DOTs are using drones for a host of missions including disaster and emergency response, infrastructure inspections, and avalanche control. Transportation TV also interviewed experts about where drone technology is headed and why state DOTs will need to play a pivotal role in the creation of what are being called: Highways in the Sky.
AASHTO conducted a survey in March 2018. This updates an earlier 2016 survey.
A spreadsheet is available with drone survey anonymized results. Waiting to see if AASHTO will publish on their website (as of May 2018).
20 state DOTs have incorporated drones into their daily operations.
They are being deploying to gather photos and videos of highway construction projects.
In addition to photography, 14 states also reported using them for surveying, 12 for public education and outreach, 10 for bridge inspections, 8 for emergency response, 6 for pavement inspections, 5 for scientific research, 2 for daily traffic control and monitoring and 1 to conduct high-mast light pole inspections.
15 state DOTs are in the research phase (testing drones to determine how they can be utilized)
9 states are not deploying drones for research purposes or daily operations.