Unmanned Experts LLC (UMEX) has entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to investigate the utility of Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAS) at vehicle crash scenes. The grant is formally entitled NIJ 2013-IJ-CX-K008 ‘Using Airborne Photogrammetry from Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Enable Faster Traffic Incident Clearance’
Traffic accidents are at once tragic, chaotic, frustrating and hazardous locations that present law enforcement officers and rescue personnel with some tremendous challenges: how to safely coordinate rescue efforts, control traffic, forensically document the site and clear the area as quickly as possible, without further injury or death.
Traffic-related fatalities are a leading cause of law enforcement officer (LEO) line-of-duty deaths. Coordinated and efficient incident clearance is a fundamental goal and priority for current traffic incident management programs. To date, ground-based photography and terrestrial photogrammetry are emerging preferred alternatives for expediting crash investigations. However the rapid spread of low-cost SUAS technology, allied with high-speed image processing applications, offer an opportunity to collect forensic-quality scene information, speed up investigations and incident clearance, and reduce the exposure of LEOs, responders, and the public to hazardous roadside conditions.