North Carolina Department of Transportation – UAS Hurricane Florence Response

In response to the devastating impact Hurricane Florence which touched down on the North Carolina coast, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) deployed Unmanned Aircraft Systems or UAS – also known as drones– to assess the damage to infrastructure and roads. The department closed access routes due to flooding, downed power lines, and other critical transportation needs. This $430,000 project allowed drone-collected data, images, and video to be shared with federal, state, and local emergency responders through a custom-designed online dashboard – a portal that also allowed that information to be shared with the public via traditional and social media. NCDOT flew more than 260 drone missions and captured more than 8,000 videos and photos of roads, bridges, and dams – which helped government agencies assess conditions quickly, deploy emergency responders efficiently, and divert traffic away from damaged areas. The drones also helped to provide quick assistance to first responders and identifying critical and evolving issues more efficiently, particularly when it came to flooding and helped the repair team optimize mobility in damaged areas.