Kent CC starts drone testing to gain insight into whether they could be used future highway inspections

Kent County Council has been trialling drones as part of the third stage of the Department of Transport (DfT) and Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) LIVE LABS project alongside its contractor Amey.

The trial is considering how effective the technology can be for highway inspections so it can potentially be used more widely by comparing the images with others taken at the same site last month and at the end of last year.

Project Manager, Carol Valentine, said this is the first stage to see whether the cameras can pick up movement on the carriageway and problems such as pot holes. But, even if all future trials go to plan, it will be some time before they are used on the network.

Mrs Valentine said: “There are many, many legal restrictions on what we can use drones for at the moment. But once we have completed the trials and have our data, we can then work with national bodies to lobby some changes. Their use could definitely save money, if we can save sending people out. It will also have health and safety and environmental benefits. Plus, it would make it much easier to find problems on large, high-speed roads where it isn’t so easy just to get out of a car and look.”

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