Tiffin University’s Drone Academy has received a grant of $99,850 from the State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC), sub-committee of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The Drone Academy was the only applying entity to receive the Ohio STIC’s Incentive Program funding in 2022, and plans to use the resource to aid Ohio’s State Highway Patrol Accident Reconstruction Unit and local law enforcement agencies in the following ways:
● Purchase basic drones to conduct field studies and method testing related to highway accidents and natural disasters
● Design customized curriculum on Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) usage for accident scene reconstruction
● Train at least 40 Ohio law enforcement partners on UAS technology usage
● Evaluate training effectiveness and scale statewide
Through these efforts, the Drone Academy hopes to reduce traffic disruption times, lower the risk of harm for members of law enforcement, reduce the cost of documenting accidents and ultimately save Ohio millions in related expenses.
“This is a big deal for us, as we’re such a new organization,” said Owen Fritz, Drone Academy Director. “Most organizations who receive the STIC Incentive Program funding have been operating for years, so it’s even more of an honor for a program that launched in March to be recognized as one of the industry’s trailblazers. The Department of Transportation reports that drones save an average of 60 to 70% on labor and hardware expenses alone for most projects. This work is relevant and needed, and we are excited to be using our expertise to cut costs, improve safety and increase efficiency for local transportation and law enforcement teams.”
According to Richard Winning, Executive Financial Advisor for the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Drone Academy was chosen as this year’s recipient for proposing innovative usages for the proven and underutilized UAS-based technology.
“On behalf of ODOT, FHWA and our Ohio STIC members, I just want to say that we are excited to be partnering with Tiffin University through the City of Tiffin for the purpose of developing and providing UAS incident reconstruction training,” said Winning. “This is truly a grassroots effort to develop a course that is customized to the needs of its intended targets, and will result in increased efficiency and improved safety. This project will not only benefit the State of Ohio and the University, but will also benefit many local partners, which has been a primary focus of the STIC in recent years.”
For more information on the STIC and affiliates, visit fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/stic/.
To learn more about the Drone Academy, visit tiffin.edu/academics/drone-academy.