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Drones: 10 News media companies partner Virginia Tech for controlled safety testing

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↑ Drone shot ©David Jacobs

A coalition of 10 news media companies has announced that it has partnered with Virginia Tech for the testing of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to gather news. Virginia Tech leads the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, one of six test sites established by Congress to collect data on the use of UAS. Congress set up the test sites to assist the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in formulating regulations to integrate UAS into the national airspace.
The partnership between the news media coalition and Virginia Tech is designed to conduct controlled safety testing of a series of real-life scenarios where the news media could use small UAS technology to gather the news.

The 10 news media companies are:
• Advance Publications, Inc.
• A.H. Belo Corp
• The Associated Press
• Gannett Co., Inc
• Getty Images (US), Inc
• NBCUniversal
• The New York Times Company
• The E.W. Scripps Company
• Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc
• The Washington Post
AP Director of Photography Santiago Lyon said about the tests “The AP is excited to join with these other leading media companies in exploring the safe and responsible use of drone technology for newsgathering purposes that further our understanding of current events,”
The coalition has been working since mid-2014 through the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP to develop the testing protocols with Virginia Tech.

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