In a US-first, two programs running under the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) are coming together to improve road safety with tethered drones.

The statewide Incident Management Assistance Patrol (IMAP) program and the Division of Aviation’s UAS program will be deploying tethered drones from select IMAP vehicles to enhance situational awareness. This will both help first responders assess incidents such as crashes and to better assist with the overall traffic management.

State traffic operations engineer Dominic Ciaramitaro explains:

Along our interstates, where our IMAP patrols operate, there are gaps in camera coverage, so we don’t have perfect situational awareness. Tethered drones will help us fill those gaps.

IMAP trucks are equipped with multiple specialized tools to assist stranded motorists or scene management with first responders. But traditionally, traffic operations staff have been viewing video feeds through traffic…