Hurricane Florence: Drones assessed infrastructure damage and aided recovery

NCDOT used drones to understand the scale of infrastructure damage and aid recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence


Hurricane Florence created a proving ground for drones supporting disaster response, according to Sililcon Angle’s Paul Gillin, who connected with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and learned that the agency flew 253 drone missions and captured 2,600 photos and videos of infrastructure damage caused by the storm.

Although it’s impossible to say if lives were saved, there’s no question that the quad-copters improved the efficiency of recovery operations, got people home sooner and gave residents and a worldwide audience a first-hand view of the devastation,” he wrote.

Basil Yap, program manager in the Unmanned Aerial Systems division of NCDOT, indicated that the state began working on post-disaster drone deployment after Hurricane Matthew. The program’s drones can fly for 40 minutes in 40 mile per hour winds and can stream live video that were used for Hurricane Florence disaster field operations and public relations activities, according to the report.

Learn more about the risks and benefits of deploying drones after Hurricane Florence on

View samples of the drones’ footage in the agency’s NCDOT weekly report that followed the storm:

Andrea Fox is Editor of and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.