Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR NEWS REPORTING 30 unmanned systems inside   August/September 2017 News teams also have to make sure they f ly legally, ethically and that they don't violate any privacy laws, said Morwen Williams, head of Newsgathering Operations for BBC News. They have to let people know they're filming them and to ask permission if they need to fly over or from someone's property to cover a story. "I don't shoot anything I wouldn't shoot from the ground," Ofenbeck said. "Any of us who shoot for news understand how to maintain privacy. We don't intrude on people or hover over prop- erty without an absolute reason to be there." There are some grey areas when it comes to privacy laws, Waite said, which is why the best thing to do is ask permission before f lying over a homeowner's land. Airspace restrictions also present problems, Burton said, especially the regulation that prohibits f lights over people. That's especially challenging for journalists who cover large cities, and does limit the type of stories news organizations can cover via drone. "We end up f lying in a limited fashion," Rose said. "The challenge for our individual pilots is to look at what they want to shoot when they get to a scene and then determine if there's a safe place to launch and f ly. They also need to find a secondary landing zone. That's all part of the setup, checklist and preparation." CNN does have a waiver to f ly over people, Agvent said, and the team knows how impor- tant it is to conduct those f lights safely. He wouldn't take a system off the shelf today and f ly it over a large crowd to cover a news event; he just doesn't feel the predictability is there yet. CNN looks at systems that have ballis- tic parachutes to slow down the descent in an emergency situation. Agvent also likes propeller cages, and said he works with manufacturers to make sure they're available. Audible warnings also can be helpful in an emergency situation. The Future The drone industry is still very young, and as the technology evolves and the regulatory landscape becomes clearer, even more capabilities for news- gathering will emerge. The systems will become even smaller and easier to transport, and there will be more opportunity for live broadcasts, in- vestigative reporting and watchdog journalism. Eventually every news photographer will have a drone, Moushey said, with the ability to easily deploy a system if a story calls for it. "Value added images are fine but the real deal is how they can help journalists do their watchdog roll," Allen said. "It's going to take some experience and creativity to really think about how that's going to work. That's also the fun part of this. What are the applications? CBC uses helicopters for many shoots where drones can't fly, including over urban centers, in emergency situations where first responders are present and in extremely remote areas without vehicle access. NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR HELICOPTERS WHILE THEY'RE MORE ECONOMICAL AND EASIER TO DEPLOY , Greg Agvent, senior director, CNN Aerial Imagery & Reporting for CNN Worldwide, doesn't see UAS replacing helicopters for newsgathering. Why? Even though they're both aerial platforms, they have very different capabilities. "The intimate aerial is what I think separates the UAS from the helicopter," he said. "I constantly tell my team not to look at drones as helicopters, but as a means to provide a totally portable camera that you can use to tell your story in a unique fashion." Morwen Williams, head of Newsgathering Operations for BBC News, agrees. "Drones are really useful when you don't want to pay for expensive helicopters and they're more immediate," she said. "Helicopters are invaluable and can't be replaced, but storytelling can be done slightly easier with a drone, giving you a more creative element." Photos courtesy of Ed Middleton csc and WBNS 10TV.

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