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A fleet of drones is being deployed to monitor NSW traffic

NSW government reveals drone-powered plan to tackle traffic congestion and accident management.

A fleet of drones is being deployed to monitor NSW traffic
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The buzzing of quad rotors is complementing traditional forms of traffic monitoring as the NSW government shares details of its new drone monitoring program.

A fleet of more than 70 drones is now supporting the Transport Management Centre in an array of tasks.

According to a release from the NSW Minister of Roads, the drones are being used to provide real-time information to traffic apps, as well as to monitor crashes and peak hour traffic. The drones are capable of relaying alternate traffic routes, which, in turn, prevents further accidents and congestion.


In addition, drone pilots with Transport for NSW can now remotely launch and operate their drones directly from TMC response vehicles, an Australian first-of-its-kind capability. Transport for NSW now has a chief pilot to oversee drone operations, which launch regularly during the morning and afternoon peak travel times, as well as to monitor specific incidents.

The drones have already been used to monitor known holiday bottlenecks in the Blue Mountains and will be deployed to Bathurst for Supercar race season.

Transport for NSW has been using drones to inspect roads and bridges, and the agency is looking at other uses for the technology.

“With an eye in the sky, detours can be put in place faster and information provided on apps like Live Traffic,” said Minister for Roads John Graham in a statement. “No one wants to be stuck at the back of a queue of traffic, and drones will help reduce the severity of traffic jams around road incidents.”

“We’ve also utilised this technology during major events, including Sydney World Pride, providing vital information to deploy extra public transport services and monitoring for emergencies.”

Craig Moran, Transport for NSW executive director of customer journey management, also sees the drones as a valuable asset – as shown by the appointment of a chief pilot.

“As part of the project, Transport for NSW has appointed a chief pilot to manage the fleet of 70 drones across Transport, set up live streaming capabilities, establish a drone maintenance and innovation hub, and become accredited to remotely fly drones in the field from the Transport Management Centre,” Moran said.

The drones will operate from a new hub in Leichhardt, in Sydney’s inner west.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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