In 2010 alone there were over 2,000 vehicle fatalities on Canada's highways and roads. The total number of major collisions is much higher. This creates an enormous burden for public safety agencies. Following an accident the role of first responders is critical. Ambulances need to attend to injuries and casualties as soon as possible, fire and emergency management assistance may be required for extraction or dealing with hazards from fire or dangerous materials. Police have responsibility for securing the site and coordinating cleanup, accident reconstruction and evidence gathering. An aerial perspective of a scene provides first responders with additional information for coordinating response and cleanup, and investigation.
The economic impact of road closures is significant - and for major roadways can total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour. Traditional methods for gathering aerial images using helicopters are time and cost prohibitive, and ground measurements for accident reconstruction for complex scenes can take several hours. sUAS such as the Scout provide first on-scene personnel with immediate aerial imagery for response coordination, and evidentiary purposes.
Held as part of an accident reconstruction training course, Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS)
arranged a live-crash simulation. The primary objective was to ensure officers are well versed with
quick, efficient, and accurate accident reconstruction procedures following a crash so as to reduce disruption
to the public and minimize financial impact.
An Aeryon Scout was used to collect aerial imagery and benchmark image-based measurements against customary evidence gathering means of a Total Station (a ground-based optical instrument used for coordinate and distance measurement) by drastically reducing the amount of time needed to perform the accident reconstruction.
The Scout first provided officers with an aerial perspective of the crash by live streaming high resolution video. After the crash, the Scout quickly covered the 1 acre area of interest using the Scout's AutoGrid feature - capturing 40 images of the scene in approximately 5 minutes. The automatically georeferenced imagery was then processed into a detailed orthorectified image mosaic using Scout platform's integrated GIS software.
The Scout reduced time for evidence gathering from 1.5 hours required for the Total Station to less than 15 minutes. Exercise participants were able to take precise measurements of important crash elements such as the distance moved along the road from the original impact to the stationary point.