SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Public Works Department will soon use a drone to assist in various projects like water main breaks, construction and landscape analysis.
Lawmakers signed off on the plan this week. Officials hope the new technology will help complete projects faster and save taxpayers money.
"Routine inspections might be able to happen more quickly, because we don't have to set up all the protections that we would need to normally," said Public Works Director of Strategic Development Marlene Feist. "Anytime we can have the ability to assess a situation in an unmanned, safer way, that's a good thing for us."
It will also be good for taxpayers. City workers said projects will be completed faster with the drone, which will save money in reduced overtime hours.
The drone will also make conditions safer for city employees. By using the drone, fewer employees will have to fit into potentially dangerous surroundings. The city expects fewer workers to be hurt on the job, which will also save taxpayers money.
"If we can use a drone for that purpose and determine when we really need to send an employee there, that's a good thing," said Feist.
The new drone will cost $15,000. Pilot training began this spring and the drone is expected to hit the sky by the end of summer.