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Nearly all states use drones for range of work

SALT LAKE CITY — A survey obtained by The Associated Press shows that public transportation agencies are using drones in nearly every state.

The report being released Monday from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials shows a sharp increase in drone use over the last few years. It reflects the technology’s rapid adoption by governments as well as hobbyists.

In Utah, drones are hovering near avalanches to watch roaring snow. In North Carolina, they’re searching for the nests of endangered birds. In Kansas, they could soon be identifying sick cows through heat signatures.

Transportation officials say drones can make prosaic tasks like bridge inspections cheaper and take on work that’s dangerous for people.

In Utah, thermal drones monitor snowpack and measure avalanches to help keep snow slides from blocking roads in winter.

Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press