City of Winchester tests new drone technology

Virginia

WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — The City of Winchester will be testing drone technology through the end of this week to see if using drones could be a helpful way to improve efficiency and opportunities in several City programs.

The drones will be used for testing in five citywide programs, water meter usage data collection, local road pavement inspections, energy loss detection, city maps, and tree inspections.

“We’re trying to expand and see what other city functions the technology can help us with,” said Shawn Hershberger, City of Winchester development services director.

During the week-long testing, city residents might see some of the drones flying around.

“It is a multi-day process where we’re testing in the field drone technology,” Hershberger said.

If approved for use, the city’s current drone program, which already utilizes 10 certified pilots and five drones to be used for public safety, public services, and communications, would expand.

“We try on (the) city level to be ahead of innovation and try to be an innovative community as much as possible,” Hershberger stated.

The city says it currently doesn’t have a timeline for when the drone technology might officially go into use.

The drone technology test is an innovative municipalities initiative and the test scenarios will be done in collaboration with DroneUp, city staff and the Center for Innovative Technology.

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