How drones will help clear mega accidents much quicker

Following the 193-vehicle pileup in western Michigan a few weeks back, state police are hoping the Federal Aviation Administration will issue state-wide approval of a $158,000 drone that can help rapidly reconstruct accident scenes.

The Aeryon SkyRanger snaps hundreds of overlapping photos that can be edited together to create a three-dimensional map of an accident scene, MSP 1st Lt. Chris Bush told The Detroit News. The Ontario Provincial Police have been using a pair of Aeryon drones around Toronto for the past few years, and the department claims they reduce the amount of time it takes to photograph an accident scene by up to 87 percent.

That kind of capability would have proved instrumental after the huge pileup between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek on Interstate 94 earlier this month. Following the crash, state police spent two days measuring and photographing the scene before it could start clearing the nearly 200 vehicles caught up in the mess.

The News reports Michigan State Police pilots have been training with the equipment for over a year, and that FAA approval could come as early as next month. If/when the FAA gives the go ahead, the MSP would be the first department in the country approved to use drones across an entire state.

"I personally think it's going to change how we do law enforcement," 1st Lt. Bush told The Detroit News. "The quicker we can get accidents cleared, to me that's a gamechanger for how we do law enforcement."

To see a video of the Aeryon SkyRanger drone's many uses, check out the footage above.

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