Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drones for Journalism: Traffic Reporters Hardest Hit

The Columbia Missourian reports on a grant awarded to research drones as reporting tools:
Journalists may soon be able to report from new heights, thanks to drones. 
The small, flying robots are being explored as tools for reporting from the air. Scott Pham, content director for KBIA/91.3 FM, has received a $25,000 grant from the MU Interdisciplinary Innovations Fund to develop drones for journalism use.
The research will look at using drones to report on wild fires and natural disasters, but the single most lucrative application of drones in journalism would be to replace rush-hour traffic reporters flying around in helicopters with an unmanned aerial vehicle like the Global Hawk pictured above. That's never mentioned in the article, which focus on incorporating much smaller and commercially available drones like the Parrot Quadricopter available from Amazon; however, the post does imply that there are some regulatory hurdles that must be overcome before traffic reporters find themselves behind a desk remotely controlling traffic drones:
The flying robots won't be hovering over residential areas anytime soon, though. Restrictions include flying under 400 feet and away from airports and other populated areas.
Local ordinances will have to be adjusted to facilitate this innovation.

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