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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Systems: State Surveys and Domestic Scans

Activity Level Summary

TRB Surveys

Other Agencies (Like State DOTs)

  • 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.

AASHTO Surveys

2018 Survey

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).

  • 35 of 44 responding state DOTs are using drones.
  • 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.

2016 Survey

SCOR/RAC Surveys

Annual State Bridge Engineers Survey

International Surveys