Investigators

Cole Fitzpatrick
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Michael A. Knodler, Jr., Ph.D
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Civil Engineering

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Project

The Influence of Unmanned Aerial Systems on Driving Performance

Safety across all facets of the transportation system remains a top priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation due, in part, to the high number of traffic fatalities and injuries occurring each year. In the United States, 9% of fatal crashes in 2016 were reported as distraction-affected crashes, killing 3,450 people, showing that distracted driving is a main contributor to reduced roadway safety. Parallel to efforts in safety, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have become increasingly utilized for a myriad of applications in the vicinity of the roadway, for bridge inspections, roadway mapping, and traffic monitoring, among other applications. However, there exists a gap in literature on how UAS in the vicinity of roadways affect driver behavior in varying circumstances, such as UAS at varying heights adjacent to the roadway and with varying UAS operator locations. The main objective of this research is to understand how driver behavior and performance is impacted by the presence of UAS on or near roadways. This research has the potential to impact UAS policy and practice to increase the safety of all roadway users