Traffic backed up? Bridge out? More states deploying drones

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CNN drone picture of flooding damage in Columbia, South Carolina on October 6, 2015.

BOSTON — State transportation departments across the country are increasingly studying the use of unmanned aerial vehicles — better known as drones — for everything from inspecting bridges to helping clear car accidents.

Michigan transportation officials are set to begin a two-year drone study. Minnesota has tested a drone to help conduct safety inspections of bridges. Vermont is using federal grant dollars to study how to use drones to figure out how much fill is needed to repair damaged roadways.

In Massachusetts, a working group has also been looking at the pros and cons of drone use.

The states are among 33 that have studied or used drones, helped develop drone polices, or aided in drone research according to a new survey by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

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