A black drone hovers above a tractor trailer accident on a windy two-lane road with grassy fields on either side.

Safe Skies: ODOT Working on Groundbreaking Drone Tracking System

Credit: Fox 8 News

Photo Credit: Ohio Department of Transportation

From air taxis to last mile deliveries to emergency services, drones are expected to play a huge role in our lives in the not-too-distant future.

Under FAA regulations now commercial drone operators must have an observer and can only operate their unmanned aircraft within line of sight. But the Ohio Department of Transportation is working with researchers, the FAA and Ohio State University to develop a system that might help improve safety and open the skies to be shared between manned and unmanned aircraft.

ODOT says at low altitudes detecting manned air traffic with traditional radar is much more difficult due to the presence of obstructions including trees, houses, cars and other low flying objects. It is in those low altitudes where unmanned drones must share the skies with medical helicopters, crop-dusters and other manned aircraft.