Highways England has revealed plans to use drone technology to monitor the progress of upgrade work on UK motorways.

The drone will provide Highways England with an accurate 3D view of the progress, while allowing the agency to improve journeys for drivers.

By providing detailed imagery on the progress made on gantries, foundations and other structures, the application of this technology will reduce the time taken for lane closures usually required to monitor upgrade work.

The data will also be instrumental in decision-making around planned closures, as well as future work and equipment.

Highways England Smart Motorway sponsor Peter Smith said: “Safety is our top priority and we constantly pioneer ways of using new technology to keep people safe while we do this work.

“The drone is a fantastic piece of kit that provides us with detailed insight into scheme progress across a large area of the works in a much quicker and efficient way.

“It surveys up to 10km in a single day and then creates an accurate 3D model of the works in just one hour. Ordinarily, inspections by road workers require lane closures for safety reasons and can take up to several days.

By using the drone we are able to reduce lane closures because we can scan a much larger area in a quicker period of time.”

The drone technology is currently being used for the rehabilitation work being carried out on the M6 between junctions 2 and 4 near Coventry, as well as the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon in the east.