One Massachusetts town has a new tool in its fight against the risk of snow-covered roof collapses: drones.
The snow-weary city of Somerville has hired a local aerial photography firm to fly its drones high above the city to shoot video of municipal buildings' roofs, so the city will know which need to be cleared.
Dan Hadley, chief of staff to the mayor's office, explained that the drones' footage-gathering missions would "promote public safety."
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The company the city has hired, Above Summit, says its drones are operated via transmitter remote and can get within 10 feet of their subject matter. Its smallest drones use GoPro camera rigs for full HD footage, while its largest drones carry cameras that can record professional-quality video.
"This is the easiest, quickest way we could possibly inspect them," Hadley told the Boston Globe of the plan. "As long as we are keeping safety concerns in mind, it's the perfect use of technology for government."
The drone-hiring plan is just the latest effort to clear the snow in Somerville. Earlier this month, the city cracked down on homeowners and businesses who didn't shovel promptly.
Alderman Jack Connolly says inspectors are handing out brightly-colored citations he likes to call "Scarlet Letters" so neighbors know who’s being held accountable.