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South African news station said to be experimenting with UAVs for traffic reporting

March 31, 2014

Transient

Perhaps it was only a matter of time, but a broadcast station in South Africa has announced it intends to deploy unmanned aircraft systems specifically to provide updates on traffic.

According to a news release, Kagiso New Media and Jacaranda FM will begin testing a “helicopter-like” platform later this week, for a period lasting 15 days.

Jacaranda FM general manager has said that helicopters are prohibitively expensive for the station, but relatively inexpensive drones can “objective, up-to-date traffic information that it can pass on to listeners via the airwaves.” The station also will send its drone-gathered traffic information through its Twitter feed.

The news agency has said it will comply with the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa’s rules on drone operations.

On March 26, the Jacaranda FM station announced on its Facebook feed that it had a new “eye in the sky.” As of the evening of March 31, however, the link on the page was dead.

Matthew Schroyer is a drone and data journalist based in Urbana, Illinois... read more


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