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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for traffic collision investigations

The Edmonton Police Service uses an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in traffic collision investigations.

“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.”

Information provided from the UAV allows investigators to more effectively measure and examine tire marks, distances and lines of sight.

Traffic Section conceived the idea of using an UAV for collision investigation in January 2014 and since, has been piloting its use 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 continued using the UAV in major collision investigations.

The EPS follows Transport Canada regulations. Operation of the UAV requires proper permits and pilot training. Flight plans must be filed to notify other pilots operating in the area.

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.

EPS UAV Facts

  • Operated by two police officers (pilot and spotter) and UAV must be kept in sight at all times.
  • Restricted by present Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) to an operational altitude of 300 ft. above ground level.
  • Can remain in the air for approximately 12 minutes and has an effective control range of over 2000 ft.
  • The UAV includes a Flight Data Recorder; a 5000 lumen search light; FLIR (thermal imaging) and a fully remote controlled digital SLR camera.