Using Drones, Quadcopters and UAV’s to Capture News
Media giant CNN who are owned by behemoth Time Warner have entered into a partnership a research initiative with the Georgia Institute of Technology to study the use of Drones in journalism and as a tool for news gathering. The term ‘Drone Journalism’ has long been used and the partners in this initiative are looking to accelerate governmental rule-making and they will conduct in-depth studies into the safety and effectiveness of using Unmanned Vehicles as news gathering devices. When the University of Missouri started a drone journalism course last year they were sent a cease and desist letter. The rules that the FAA have in place restrict the use of drones for commercial purpose and it is necessary to apply for a permit. More recently Kent State University College of Applied Science Engineering have announced a new course to ensure students will be well prepared to take advantage of the rapidly expanding UAV market place.
Advancing Drone Technology
Most of the footage taken from Quadcopters, Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles come from amateurs using DJI Phantoms equipped with GoPro cameras or similar rigs that can be purchased for under $1000.The technology that powers these vehicles is advancing at an exponential rate allowing these unmanned vehicles to fly autonomously to various waypoints, film and then move on to the next Waypoint and repeat the process. The benefits of using Drones in journalism are plainly evident as they can go to places that could be extremely hazardous for humans or capture news footage of riots without putting lives in danger.
The FAA have promised to review the legislation regarding the use a small Drones for commercial applications by the end of 2104 but many involved in the industry feel they are dragging their heels. In Canada as in the USA the FAA have expressed concerns on how the use of Drones will affect air space. At the moment flying these multi-rotors is restricted to below 400 feet and it is against the law to fly within a three mile radius of an airport.
Monitoring Drone usage
Monitoring the use of Drones however is not an easy task as their use is becoming more widespread every day. Almost every week new models are released that have the flight capabilities of models that would have cost thousands of dollars only a few years ago. These craft although classed in the toy category and dubbed Park Flyers can act as surveillance vehicles and perform the exact same functions of larger commercial craft. It is going to be difficult to enforce any legislation as user numbers grow. Traditional Hobbyists who have mastered their flying skills with Remote Controlled Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft can effortlessly move to flying Quadcopters as they are far easier to fly than traditional craft and offer far greater degree of stability due to gyroscopic flight boards. There is also a new breed of flyers that start their journey with tiny Nano or Micro Quadcopters then move up to Aerial Photography rigs.
Drone capturing footage of a $24 million Boat going up in flames
Drone Degree from KentState University