The remote reporter

It might be time to add a new position to the list of endangered news media members — helicopter crews.

The TV helicopter might be in its death throes, thanks to unmanned vehicles.

I chatted with a colleague a week or so ago who was out at the giant convention of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas recently. The hot exhibit on the floor? Drones.

Some police departments are already using these things. So are some scientists. They cost about $50 an hour to run.

Nebraska, FastCompany reports, is ground zero for the revolution. A journalism professor at the University of Nebraska is figuring out how news organizations can acquire content using remote mobile devices.

There’s just one problem: They’re illegal. The Federal Aviation Administration has been given until September 2015 to figure out how to bring drones into the airspace it controls.

  • jon

    What is the difference between a UAV and an RC aircraft?

    It their some altitude limitation on RC aircraft right now? Can they not mount cameras on them? is it a matter of line of sight on the aircraft to fly it vs. being at a centralized location?

    seems like right now there are RC Aircraft that can make low passes over areas of interest with a video camera rolling and bring all that data safely back down to the ground.

  • Tyler

    If I see something like that peeking into my backyard, I’m going to be tempted to shoot it down.

  • Benjamin

    If you follow certain guidelines, these are legal. The main guidelines being “line of sight” and keep it under 400 feet.