This week the North Dakota Highway Patrol was granted a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate drones/Unmanned Aircraft Systems over people.
The NDHP is the first highway patrol agency in the nation to be granted this waiver, which was approved for four years.
The highway patrol has a solid case for the benefits the use of drones will provide. It will allow more efficient inspection and analysis of accident scenes. Drone use would also be useful for search and rescue operations and locating missing persons or fleeing suspects.
Given North Dakota’s wide open spaces and terrain, it makes sense for NDHP to pursue and presumably be testing grounds for this manner of drone use.
That said, there is a concern to be considered. How far a leap is it from using drones for practical applications such as these to using them for surveillance