CNN has announced that they are officially launching a media drone program, CNN AIR (Aerial Imagery and Reporting.)
CNN will now have two full-time drone operators to capture aerial footage that will be used by CNN and other Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner businesses.
CNN first announced a proposed drone program two years ago. With drone regulations unfavorable to using drones extensively for media coverage, the network partnered with the FAA to test the viability of their drone program. Additionally, CNN participated with the FAA and NASA’s Pathfinder project, designed to help with the development of a UTM – air traffic management system for drones.
Last year, the company received permission from the FAA to test the use of drones in media. Since then, they have used drones to cover flooding in Louisiana, damage by drone strikes in the middle east, and the political conventions in the US. With the release in June of Part 107, Small UAS Rule, the FAA has said that they will next address the issue of drone flight over people. A change in regulations relative to flight over people could open up the drone industry to media outlets everywhere.
CNN has released a video announcement of the system, demonstrating how the aerial point of view contributes to a story. In addition, the company says that using a drone after earthquakes in Nepal allowed the news team to identify over 20 villages located on the other side of a landslide that had been completely blocked from any aid.
“CNN’s cutting-edge development of technology to enhance the way we tell stories is a part of our DNA,” said Terence Burke, senior VP of national news. “We are proud to continue the tradition with CNN AIR, and to establish a unit that will expand our technological capabilities for newsgathering.”