State’s new drone fleet to help with investigations, inspections

A federal innovation grant is helping the Wyoming Department of Transportation and Wyoming Highway Patrol launch a statewide drone program.

Lt. Matt Brackin, the Highway Patrol’s first certified pilot, said options are endless for how drones will help in their everyday work.

“From a crash reconstruction standpoint it will be invaluable for us,” Brackin said.

Rather than keeping a highway closed for hours while investigators measure and collect evidence, now they can fly a drone over the scene to capture images and reopen the highway more quickly and continue the investigation elsewhere.

Software can stitch together photos of the scene, allowing investigators to estimate speeds and directions of the vehicles involved.

Because Brackin works in Teton County his drone will also be used for avalanche-related highway work.