News - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Highways


Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Highways

The June edition of the UK Highways Agency's Traffic Incident Management Bulletin reports on the use of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) called the Incident Support Imaging System (ISiS).  Coincidently,  EC's DG MOVE hosted a conference on encouraging the civilian use of UAS.


The ISIS system reported by the Highways Agency is operated by West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service (WMFRS).  This system is used for aerial surveillance of major incidents including those on motorways.  Speaking a DG MOVE conference which was co-hosted by the European Defence Agency,  WMFRS' Patrick Mika showed the applications of the ISIS and how it is helping his staff.

Other presenters in the conference included Police forces from Germany, UK, Netherlands and Spain, the French Nuclear incident agency as well as other civilian applications.  In addition to the addition capabilities offered by UAS,  the UK's Kent Police reported a considerable environmental and cost benefits with less fuel used that equivilant operations with manned helicopters. 

The conclusions of the conference were that the EC will work with others to overcome legal and administrative obstacles to use of  UAS in the EU.  DG MOVE will be working on this.  The use of UAS in the United States is already widespread for traffic monitoring.  Most recently a Washington State DOT project proposes their use for triggering avalances to clear highways in mountains. 


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