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02/25/2020 04:55 PM

NDDOT partners with NPUASTS to enhance emergency response

In preparation for spring flooding, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) and Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) announced a new plan to help improve and supplement its current unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) program.

“This partnership is another great example of how our whole-of-government approach to natural disasters and other major events is enhancing services for North Dakota citizens,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “Harnessing this cutting-edge technology to improve flood preparation and response efforts shows again why North Dakota is the nation’s proving ground for UAS.”

The plan will provide UAS flight operations and capture photo and video for the NDDOT to enhance emergency response to flooding across the state.

“We are very excited for this partnership and what it means for our UAS program and the state of North Dakota,” said NDDOT Director Bill Panos. “This imagery will provide us with valuable information and give us a new prospective on flooding.”

NPUASTS will utilize its own resources and local vendors to accomplish the emergency response efforts.

“The goal of the project is to use drones to provide key stakeholders the information they need make critical decisions in regard to the anticipated flooding,” said Nicholas Flom, executive director of NPUASTS. “This information can help make critical decisions in a timely manner like determining when a road may become impassable and also allowing roads to reopen sometimes days or even a week sooner than normal inspection methods.”

In May 2018, the United States Department of Transportation selected the NDDOT as one of 10 participants in the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAS Integration Pilot Program.

The latest partnership is part of an ongoing relationship with NPUASTS designed to provide operational efficiencies, create new opportunities, build industry to grow the economy and reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

The State of North Dakota is a leader in transportation and UAS advancement. The UAS Integration Pilot Program technology will continue to enhance North Dakota in many areas such as pipeline or infrastructure inspections, traffic crash reconstruction, and emergency response.

For more information on North Dakota’s UAS Integration Pilot Program visit our webpage at