Next time you crash your car in Malta, you could be seeing a drone flying your way to inspect the damage instead of a warden.
That’s if a proposal by Innovalise is adopted by the government.
The start-up Innovalise is proposing that Malta takes a new approach to assessing car crashes, by setting up seven drone base stations around the country that could launch drones to survey car crash scenes. These drones could be used alongside the current warden system to increase efficiency.
“Traffic is one of the biggest issues of our time, with 44 accidents on average in Malta and Gozo everyday, and give or take three or four wardens on shift at any given time – do the math, it doesn’t really work out,” says Jean-Michel Azzopardi, Innovalise Co-Founder.
He believes that sending drones to survey and inspect crash sites would boost Maltese roads’ efficiency and help cause less traffic in the streets.
“While you’re waiting for the warden to arrive after a crash, you are essentially blocking an entire road, and it’s causing an insane bottleneck,” says Jean-Michel. “If you look at that happening 44 times a day, that becomes a real problem.”
In Jean-Michel’s experience, drivers could be waiting up to an hour or an hour and a half for a warden to arrive after crashing. “The idea is that we would drastically reduce the estimated 1.5 hr waiting time by implementing a number of drone base stations.”
“When an someone calls the wardens, rather than having to wait on a warden to get there on a scooter or in a car (whom may also be stuck in traffic) a drone would be there in less than 15 minutes because it travels unobstructed and in a straight line. The drone could survey the crash in 4k quality and provide an accurate depiction for the wardens to evaluate. The individuals involved in the crash could then submit their own version of what happened via app using text or voice recording.”
Jean-Michel also said that “drones can’t really operate in bad/windy weather. The idea isn’t to kill of wardens but instead act as a catalyst to optimise their efforts.”
He also said that wardens would not be completely replaced by the drones but actually assisted by them.
He also believes that insurance companies would back such a proposal.
An standard non-commercial drone has an average diameter of 22 kilometres, so Jean-Michel thinks about seven bases should be enough for both Malta and Gozo – testing would be needed to iron out line of sight issues.
Innovalise has submitted a proposal with this idea to the Transport Ministry, who said they were “interested”.
Malta would not be the first country in the world to use drones to cover insurance needs, with companies in the USA using drones to survey home insurance claims successfully.
With drones becoming cheaper and more advanced by the year, this proposed system could be a cost-effective and efficient method to introduce into Malta’s roads.