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17-01 — Successful Approaches for the Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems by Surface Transportation Agencies

A recent AASHTO survey has revealed that at least 19 different State DOT are exploring the use of the equipment. Several state DOTs are actively performing research in the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to facilitate operations. The UAS technology is dynamic and advancing quickly. UAS have been carrying numerous devices such as HD cameras, HD video cameras, LiDAR imaging equipment, and more. Contractors, Owners, and Consultants are using these devices to assist them in day to day operations as well as researching future uses. Because of its semi-regulated use, challenges do exist to implementation; however, several lead states have been identified whose experience can benefit others in accelerating implementation.

This scan will visit users of this technology and document their specific application. The scan focus and objectives shall provide a better understanding of the proactive use of this technology as well as the return on investment and its benefits to the surface transportation community. This scan will assist the accelerated national deployment of the technology by providing “Getting Started” guidance and case studies of successful applications of UAS. The scan will also provide valuable information concerning where additional development and research might be needed to support the increased use of this technology.

QR to 17-01 scan code

Scan Results and Report

Implementation and Impact

Scan chair Emanuel Banks provided perspectives on the scan outcomes on the final day of the scan:


Scan Members

  • Emanuel Banks, Arkansas DOT, AASHTO Chair
  • Jeffery Milton, Virginia DOT
  • Amy Tootle, Florida DOT
  • Gregg Fredrick, Wyoming DOT
  • Troy Larue, Alaska DOT
  • Steven Cook, Michigan DOT
  • Stephen Smith, Vermont DOT
  • Paul Wheeler, Utah DOT
  • James Gray, FHWA
  • Paul Snyder and Zach Waller, University of North Dakota, Co-Subject Matter Experts

Workshop Participants

  • Alaska Center for UAS Integration, Univ. of AK, Fairbanks
  • Caltrans
  • Colorado DOT
  • Georgia DOT
  • Iowa DOT
  • Kentucky Dept. of Aviation
  • Michigan Tech Research Institute
  • Minnesota DOT
  • New Jersey DOT
  • North Carolina DOT
  • Ohio DOT
  • Utah DOT

Left to right: Troy Larue (Alaska DOT), Shayne Gill (AASHTO), Steven Cook (Michigan DOT), Emanuel Banks (Arkansas DOT), Amy Tootle (Florida DOT), Paul Wheeler (Utah DOT), James Gray (FHWA), Paul Snyder (UND), Zach Waller (UND), and Gregg Fredrick (Wyoming DOT).