Drones Take Flight over the City

The city used drones earlier this year to survey roofs after record snowfall.

It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s a drone, and it’s coming to check out the snow.

Almost a hundred inches of snow have fallen since Juno paid us a visit in late January, and the roofs are feeling the weight. Somerville High School actually canceled school for a full week for fears that the heavy snow would cause the flat roof to collapse. But instead of sending work crews to check out the roofs–a sometimes perilous task–Mayor Curtatone has enlisted the help local startup Above Summit.

The drones take wide shots of municipal roofs, and can get around much faster than the city’s workers. Mayor Curtatone told CBS that he doesn’t believe that the drones are a replacement for civic engineers, but they do allow the city to make a fast analysis: The drones take photos almost in real time. It’s not clear at the moment whether the city will find other uses for these flying machines, but now that the door has been opened, it will be interesting to see where the city flies next.