Drones could help during your next car breakdown

A towing company in Texas plans to use drones to assess situations before sending a truck.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
2 min read
The Sunflower Labs drone can be set to sweep your property, following a preset course.

Could drones help get your car fixed faster?

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Now when your car breaks down, you call a repair person and wait. The tow truck shows up, the driver assesses the situation and then you come up with a plan for the next steps. That typical process could change, however, now that a towing company, 360 Towing Solutions Houston, is planning on using drones to inspect car breakdowns in the area. 

"Drones will be sent to the stranded vehicles first, and the drone will be used for capturing photos and videos of the stranded vehicles,"  a company senior executive said Friday in a press release. "The drone will send the photos and videos to our control room and the roadside assistance Houston professionals heading for towing the vehicle would be able to know what kind of tools they need to carry or what kind of tow truck is needed."

Watch this: 4 game-changing experimental aircraft

360 Towing Solutions Houston says it plans to start deploying drones in October. 

"Drone technology has come a long way, and the technology is progressively being used across industries," Richard Miller, the company's CEO, said in the release. "We thought we should change the way vehicles have been traditionally towed."

Miller said the use of drones -- which are now also being used as delivery vehicles -- will put the company ahead of its competitors. If it's successful, drivers who find their vehicles broken down might see more aid coming from the skies. 

360 Towing Solutions Houston didn't immediately respond to request for further comment.

First published at 4:45 p.m. PT on Sept. 20.
Updated at 5:53 p.m.: Adds more info.

Facial recognition for cows: Drones on the farm

See all photos