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A new, very interesting coalition aimed at promoting the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) in news coverage has been unfolding recently. US media giant CNN has teamed with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to advance efforts to integrate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) into newsgathering and reporting.
According to Air Traffic Management, the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRDA) will integrate efforts from CNN’s existing research partnership with the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) with the FAA.
Coordination between and among CNN, GTRI and the FAA has already begun. The FAA will use data collected from this initiative to formulate a framework for various types of UAVs to be safely integrated into newsgathering operations.
“Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high quality video journalism using various types of UAVs and camera setups,” said CNN senior vice president David Vigilante.
“Our hope is that these efforts contribute to the development of a vibrant ecosystem where operators of various types and sizes can safely operate in the US airspace,” Vigilante concluded.
“Unmanned aircraft offer news organizations significant opportunities,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We hope this agreement with CNN and the work we are doing with other news organizations and associations will help safely integrate unmanned newsgathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System.”
It should be noted, that for quite some time now, DC lobbyists, industry companies and local and federal lawmakers have been stepping up their efforts to “lean” on the FAA to relax its UAV-related regulations.
The media has seen numerous publications fanning expectations of an upcoming overhaul in the restrictions on the commercial uses of UAS. Nevertheless, amid privacy-concerns on the one hand, and red-tape on the other, significant changes in FAA regulations are yet to come into effect.