CNN is helping drones become a reality for news coverage

DJI droneDickson LeeA DJI executive flies the DJI Inspire 1 drone at the company’s Shenzhen headquarters.

The use of drones for news gathering is one step closer to reality and could help bring the U.S. closer to commercial uses of the unmanned aircrafts.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has partnered with CNN to research the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones for covering news in populated areas.

“The FAA opened up a whole new pathway with a new destination that contemplates a world where CNN and other news organisations can operate much more freely. And CNN is the guinea pig,” CNN’s senior vice president of Legal and associate general counsel for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. told Business Insider.

According to the FAA announcement on Wednesday, CNN volunteered to research the use of drones in news situations when the drone is still within sight in urban/populated areas.

DJI droneREUTERS/Charles PlatiauA Phantom drone by DJI company, equipped with a camera, flies during the 4th Intergalactic Meeting of Phantom’s Pilots (MIPP) in an open secure area in the Bois de Boulogne, western Paris, March 16, 2014.

A spokeswoman for the cable news channel told BI that the organisation’s “hope for this research is that we and other media will ultimately be able to use drones in news gathering, any time of day and night, in rural and urban areas, broadcast high-definition quality, and to operate them safely.”

The cable news channel had previously been given permission to conduct drone research in a partnership with Georgia Tech Research Institute.

The span of CNN’s research is currently unknown and is partially dependent “on technology and its rapid development.”

The use of drones in news could really give viewers a unique look at dangerous or difficult to access events such as natural disasters, protests, and wars.

DJI droneREUTERS/Jason ReedDJI innovations technician Scott Horn releases a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during a demonstration at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International exhibition in Washington, August 13, 2013.

Two other private companies, drone manufacturer PrecisionHawk and BNSF Railroad, are charged with researching the use of drones within sight in rural areas and beyond sight in rural/isolated areas, respectively.

The use of drones in other forms of TV and movie production on sets closed off to the public was approved by the FAA back in September of last year, though they have been legal in other countries and used on films such as James Bond movie “Skyfall” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” Drones open up the possibility for shots that previously would have been impossible, dangerous for a manned craft or cost-prohibitive.

The results of CNN and the other private companies’ research into drones hold great possibilities for not just industries like mining and agriculture, but could make life easier for consumers. Amazon, Google and Facebook are among the companies searching for permission from the FAA to use drones for commercial use.

Previously, the FAA had banned the use of drones for commercial use in 2007 citing safety and national security reasons. 

 

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