Drone Highway Patrol: A System for Rapid Response on Highways


Drones for commercial use are usually seen as surveillance and inspection tools, since many of their applications take place in this context. In 2019, the construction industry was the biggest user of drones, according to phillybyair.com. This reinforces the perception of wide-spread use of drones in this industry. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the commercial drone ecosystem has been dramatically changed. At present, government agencies across the globe are rapidly adopting drones for public safety purposes. When the world was facing a pandemic lockdown, Gujarat’s police officials established the country’s first drone command center to manage drones used for surveillance of Ahmedabad streets; read the full case study. 

Highway patrol with drones: why should you do it?

Drones have the following advantages when it comes to highway patrol:

  • Drones are able to reach a location much faster than vehicles on the ground, making them ideal for first responder work. 
  • When wildfires or avalanches block roads, drones can be sent to determine the situation and to locate the people in need.
  • Human first responders (police, fire, and paramedics) can benefit from drones by providing vital first-hand information about a fast-changing situation. 
  • An automated external defibrillator, for example, can be carried by drones. Remote areas can be reached by a drone carrying an AED in order to save lives.

Patrolling drones used by the military

People are being protected from avalanches: Drones are actively patrolling ski trails and supporting search and rescue efforts in mountainous areas in the case of avalanches.

The BBC reports that 90% of avalanche victims survive the first 15 minutes if they are rescued, but the odds start dropping after 45 minutes. This makes drones ideal for avalanche rescues due to their rapid response capabilities.

The MRS Czech Republic is a national agency that provides rescue assistance to people trapped by avalanches throughout the Czech Republic. Using a network of drones, they can respond efficiently. Drones are deployed in areas affected by an avalanche by mobile vehicles carrying them. Skiers transmit a specific frequency, which the drones pick up using a transceiver. This allows them to locate and rescue trapped skiers quickly. 

Investigate crash sites with drones: The Iowa State Patrol uses drones to analyze crashes on highways. Investigators can reconstruct accident sites using a traffic analysis drone equipped with high-resolution cameras. They do not use this technology to investigate traffic violations, but only for investigating accidents.

Highway patrol drones can be powered by FlytNow

The FlytNow web dashboard lets users manage their drone fleets through a cloud-based application. With the dashboard, you can track all connected drones live, as well as control their payloads and the drones via widgets

FlytNow Enterprise and FlytNow Business are the two main commercial versions of the software.