The next time CNN needs a video of hordes of protestors, it could send a drone to capture the footage, according to a post on Fortune.
CNN said Wednesday that the Federal Aviation Administration approved the news network to fly drones over crowds of people. Although CNN has similar FAA waivers that allow it to fly drones in unpopulated areas and inside closed enclosures, the new waiver represents a bigger step for the company as well as for the use of drones for commercial purposes.
Currently, companies must seek case-by-case approval from the FAA to fly drones over people’s heads, at night, and beyond the line of sight of their pilots. The FAA has granted some companies like CNN waivers allowing them to fly drones over people, but those waivers were limited, said Lisa Ellman, a Hogan Lovells lawyer who advised CNN.
The new waiver allows CNN to fly drones 150 feet above the ground instead of 21 feet, and the drones don’t have to be tethered to a physical object or person, which limits their flights.
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The new FAA waiver “will very much benefit CNN as a news gatherer, and the industry more broadly,” according to Ellman.
For instance, CNN can now send drones to film footage of crowds at big, public events. But CNN must use the Snap drone built by Vantage Robotics and not other drones sold by companies like DJI. This particular Snap drone was designed for the purpose of flying over people and comes with safeguards like enclosed rotors, which are designed to ensure people won’t be hurt if they drones fall from the sky, Ellman said. Continue reading about CNN’s waiver approval.