What’s Up on Drones

In a recent gathering of journalists from more than 40 countries for the 15th annual International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ), one of the topics discussed centered on drones. Will journalists soon be using drones for their work?

Matt Waite, professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and founder of the Journalism Drone Lab warned that  it will be some time before drones will be commonplace — and in certain states, legal — despite their many potential uses for journalistic work. Though drones function well and can be bought cheaply, they pose a “significant safety concern” due to their tendency to crash. Possibilities for journalists include relying on drones for overhead photographic views of tornadoes, fires and other disasters, but their sharp blades are too big to launch the gadgets in protest areas or other crowded areas. Much more work should be done on drone technology before they can become a more mainstream reporting mechanism, Waite said.  See here

Meanwhile, across the globe, safety and privacy concerns regarding drones are given importance as well.

The European Commission proposed today (8 April) that the European Union should set strict standards for the operation of civilian drones – unmanned aerial vehicles. The proposal covers rules on safety, security and the protection of personal data. Tasks undertaken by civilian drones include safety inspections of rail tracks or dykes, spraying pesticides on crops and monitoring natural disasters. The proposal does not cover drones used for military operations. Read more here

It seems the sky is the limit as to the potential benefits of the use of drones in many areas of civilian life, but unless there are strong regulatory measures in place for safety and security, the civilian use of drones should be fairly restricted.


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