Massachusetts State Police will soon put drones to work investigating car crashes.

The law enforcement agency announced Friday that it has acquired its first drone, which will be used to help make sure crash sites are quickly responded to, cleared, and reconstructed.The state police said that the aerial system is meant to “assist in our quick-clearance policy which seeks to clear crash scenes as quickly as possible once it is safe to do so for all persons involved in the crash.”

They’ll probably have plenty of chances to use the system. Auto insurance company Allstate said in 2015 that Boston drivers are the worst in the United States because they’re 157 percent more likely than the national average to get in car accidents. Even if the rest of the state has better drivers, odds are good that this drone will see lots of action. Which is where two trends — police drones and self-driving cars — collide. (Figuratively.)

Law enforcement organizations are using drones more than ever. Companies have found ways to modify both consumer and military drones for police use. Drones could be used during riots, for example, by outfitting them with tear gas or other crowd-control tools. This would help police respond to problems without endangering themselves.

But the most common use case for police drones is surveillance. That’s why the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center has asked independent contractors to instruct cops on how to use small UASs equipped with cameras. Those drones can be used to get a bird’s-eye view of any locations of interest, which could in turn allow law enforcement to learn more about a situation.

There are other uses for police drones, like Amazon’s plan for small devices that could help during traffic stops, but those are a bit further off. Still, it’s clear that police departments now have more drones available to them. It’s no surprise that Massachusetts police would convince the state’s Transportation department to help them learn how to use drones as a crash response tool.

Yet the rise of autonomous vehicles could soon reduce the need for those drones. Cars are much safer drivers than humans — Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the company’s Autopilot feature, which isn’t even fully autonomous, could save 500,000 lives if it was more common.

Massachusetts won’t even have to look far to find self-driving cars. NuTonomy, a startup that grew out of research done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, announced recently that it plans to test a fleet of autonomous vehicles on Boston’s streets before the end of the year. These tests will help the cars learn how to handle local signs and, presumably, the nation’s worst drivers.

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At least the state’s police will have the tools they need to respond to crashes before self-driving vehicles become more common. They have a more pressing problem for their new $18,000 gadget: Eagles have become more common in the state, and while they aren’t as large as their Australian cousins, they might still decide to hunt the drones for sport.

They’ll probably have plenty of chances to use the system. Auto insurance company Allstate reported in 2015 that Boston drivers are the worst in the United States because they’re 157 percent more likely than the national average to get into car accidents. Even if the rest of the state has better drivers, odds are good that this drone will see lots of action. Which is where two trends — police drones and self-driving cars — collide. (Figuratively.)

Law enforcement organizations are using drones more than ever. Companies have found ways to modify both consumer and military drones for police use. Drones could be used during riots, for example, by outfitting them with tear gas or other crowd-control tools. This would help police monitor areas too dangerous to enter.

But the most common use-case for police drones is surveillance. That’s why the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center has asked independent contractors to instruct cops on how to use small drones equipped with cameras. Those drones can be used to obtain a bird’s-eye view of any locations of interest, which could in turn allow law enforcement to learn more about a situation.

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There are other uses for police drones, like Amazon’s plan for small devices that could help during traffic stops, but those are a bit further off. Still, it’s clear that police departments now have more drones available to them. It’s no surprise that Massachusetts police would convince the state’s transportation department to help them learn how to use drones as a crash response tool.

Photos via NuTonomy, Getty Images / Steve Jennings

Nathaniel Mott is a writer living in upstate New York who has covered technology for Pando, Gigaom, and the Guardian, among others.