CASE STUDY: Economic Benefit of Police Using UAS's to Investigating Traffic Accidents

UAS help police investigate accidents

SUMMARY: Unmanned aircraft systems can help law enforcement and first responders reduce the amount of time it takes to investigate an traffic accident by about 85% leading to economic benefits in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

PROBLEM: In 2010 there were over 2010 traffic fatalities across Canada's highways and roads. The number of major collisions was even higher. Each crash places an intense burden on first responders. Fire Rescue must suppress any hazards and extract injured victims, Emergency Medical Services must transport injured victims for medial care, and police must secure the scene, coordinate clean-up, investigate the accident, and control traffic. Closing a major can have a detrimental economic impact in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour. Traditional methods for gathering aerial images using helicopters or fire department ladder trucks are time and cost prohibitive, and can substantially delay road openings.

SOLUTION: As part of an accident reconstruction training course, Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) [Canada] coordinated live-crash simulations to ensure that officers were trained with accurate, efficient, and quick accident reconstruction procedures following a crash. Trainers deployed an Aeryon Scout UAS to collect aerial imagery and benchmark image-based measurements more quickly, and more effectively, than the traditional use of ground-based measurement systems. The Scout streamed live high resolution video to officers and quickly captured 40 images from the one-acre accident scene in less than five minutes. The geo-referenced photography was then processed into a detailed ortho-rectified image for investigators. The UAS reduced the amount of investigation time from 1.5 hours (via traditional methods) to less than 15 minutes. This time savings led to a projected economic benefit of several thousand dollars.

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