According to the EPS, information provided from the UAV allows investigators to more effectively measure and examine tire marks, distances and lines of sight.
“The UAV provides aerial data for collision reconstruction and effective courtroom testimony,” says Const. Binoy Prabhu, lead of the UAV program with EPS Traffic Section. “The UAV can take specific scene data and evidence, which we can then use for forensic measurement that assists major collision investigators.”
Traffic Section conceived the idea of using a UAV for collision investigation in January 2014 and has since been using it in collision reconstruction investigations. In June 2014, the EPS received its operations certificate by Transport Canada.
Major Collision Investigation Unit first used the UAV in a fatal collision on June 29, 2014, and has since used the UAV in over 15 major collision investigations.
Traffic Section now has three officers fully trained to operate the UAV and four other police officers at various stages of training to qualify as UAV operators.
The EPS says it follows Transport Canada regulations: Operation of the UAV requires proper permits and pilot training, and flight plans must be filed to notify other pilots operating in the area.
Also, the UAV, which must be kept in sight at all times to an altitude of 300 feet above ground level, is operated by two police officers (pilot and spotter). The aircraft can remain in the air for approximately 12 minutes and has an effective control range of over 2,000 feet. It also includes a flight data recorder; a 5000-lumen searchlight; FLIR thermal imaging; and a fully remote-controlled, digital single-lens reflex camera.
A video of the EPS’ UAV in action can be seen here.