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UDOT Ready To Buy $180K Surveying Drone, Connecting Technology

Original source: KUTV

Drone at Quarry.png This is no run-of-the-mill, ordinary drone. It comes with high tech technology that could ultimately save money. It’s called LiDAR, technology that attaches to a drone and images anything beneath it.

For years, the Utah Department of Transportation has hired outside contractors to use this technology. Now, they want one of their own to cut out the middle man.

“It fires off millions of lasers at a particular area to give you the most accurate picture possible — we can see cracks in the road,” says UDOT spokesperson John Gleason.

Gleason says the drone can also survey vulnerable avalanche areas and even predict where landslides may occur, adding, “if there's a burn scar there, you can go out there and map that area then a month later after you've had some rain storms you can go back out there again and see if there's been any movement and actually predict where you could have a mudslide.”

Gleason says the drone is about $5,000 and the connecting laser imaging hardware and software makes up the rest of the big price tag.

“To get it at this price, yeah, it's a large investment, but we think we're going to get a great return on that investment,” Gleason said.

Gleason says UDOT has been waiting for the cost to come down, “and, bottom line, it's going to allow us to be safer.”

Several projects are already waiting to be surveyed all over the state. Gleason hopes the purchase is finalized by the end of June. UDOT has an employee already in-house to fly the drone once they get it.

... GO TO UDOT Ready To Buy $180K Surveying Drone TO READ MORE

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