The Michigan State Police are asking for statewide authorization to be the first state in the nation to use aerial drones for an overhead view of vehicle crash sites, the Detroit News reports.

The agency is asking for permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly a $158,000 remote-controlled tiny helicopter over these large crash sites.  Our state police pilots have been training to use this drone for more than a year.

What are the benefits?

Michigan State police officials are saying the drone will reduce the time required to survey and reconstruct major crash scenes like the 193-vehicle pileup that shut down a section of Interstate 94 between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek earlier this month.

In the Detroit News article, the State police said that "It took two days to reopen the highway after the pileup, in part because crash investigators had to take detailed measurements and photos of the scene before they could begin clearing the wreckage of passenger vehicles and commercial trucks, Etue said. Ontario Provincial Police reports up to an 87 percent reduction in the time for its drones to photograph and reconstruct crash areas."

The FAA has only granted licenses to fly unmanned aerial drones to a few police agencies across the U.S., according to the Detroit News. FAA officials are coming to Lansing next month to make a final review of the state police's training and drone use policies."

Is this a good idea that will be beneficial to us all? Or is it a slippery slope toward mass surveillance?