Broadcast news station in South Africa to use drones in traffic reporting

Two South African media outlets are working to provide real-time traffic updates to the community using a drone.

Kagiso New Media and Jacaranda FM have plans to launch a remote-controlled drone over the N1 highway; up-to-the-minute online video feeds will capture images of traffic congestion to enrich on-air traffic reporters, as well as be streamed live online.

“In a metropolitan area with so many traffic issues, this offering will save our audience a lot time and hassle,” said Jacaranda FM general manager Kevin Fine. “We see it as a potential revolution not only in traffic reporting, but also in news reporting. It’s another innovative avenue that keeps us connected to our audience.”

The stations are the next in a wave of journalism organizations embracing the use of drones to improve upon the quality and reduce the costs of journalism. Broadcast stations often deploy helicopters to monitor traffic, so a drone offers a cheaper, more efficient alternative.

“We believe that UAV technology is an integral step into a future of transparent communications and information because it provides real time data when people need it,”said Craig Corte, chief digital officer at Kagiso Media. “We plan to be at the forefront of this technological boom so that we can capitalize on the many opportunities which it will provide.”

Drone operators with military background want to boost commercial drone market

There’s a new drone startup in town — Flyspan Systems, a consulting group made up of some of the most well-connected drone operators out there.

The Irvine, Calif.-based consulting agency is made up of a balanced team of seven engineers, business strategies and drone industry experts. Founder Brock Christoval specializes in aircraft systems engineering, while co-founder Vinny Capobianco is more on the mechanical engineering end of things.

And where did they get their experience from? They worked for the United States Department of Defense working on – you guessed it – drones.

“We’re from the military side, but everything is just peeking its way into the commercial market,” Capobianco said.

They won’t say just what their involvement in military drone use was, but they have a passion for doing everything possible to develop the commercial drone market. Continue reading Drone operators with military background want to boost commercial drone market

Drone wildlife photographer unveils ground-based drone

beetlecam-8UK-based wildlife photographer and drone operator Will Burrard-Lucas has released a new version of his remote-control camera buggy – the BeetleCam Hybrd.

The photographer is known for his stunning, close-up videos of the African wildlife, which we wrote about a few months back. Now, the same technology is available to the public with Burrard-Lucas’ new company, Camtraptions Ltd.

The BeetleCam Hybrid is an updated version of his BeetleCam, which allows you to position a DSLR camera on the buggy, protected by a strong, light-weight shell and stabilized by a gimbal.

“This gimbal allows the camera to stay perfectly level, even if the BeetleCam is moving over uneven surfaces,” a news release stated. “The operator can also smoothly control the camera pan and tilt without moving the base.”

The BeetleCam Hybrid will be shipping in April.

Photo courtesy of Will Burrard-Lucas

YouTube drone video turns into mysterious police visit

What started as an innocent post to YouTube by a drone operator of a local mountain biking club turned into a visit by possible fake police officers.

Drone hobbyist Adam Crouchley used a DJI Phantom to shoot footage of the Hamilton Mountain Bike Club, which was shared on their Facebook page and to his YouTube account on Feb. 27.

The next morning, Crouchley awoke to police at his door, informing him someone lodged a complaint about him and that ‘the DJI Phantom is a bad quadcopter.’

“He continued to try and educate me about how the compass and GPS works, by feeding me information that was incorrect anyway,” Crouchley wrote on his blog. “I thought it was really unusual that the police officer was making a point about this particular machine of mine.”

It turns out, the officers that came to his door were not assigned to come to his door, and there was no job lodged with the police department or the Civil Aviation Authority to talk to him.

At one point, Crouchley considered they may not have even been real police officers. Continue reading YouTube drone video turns into mysterious police visit

6 incredible photos that are proof drones will revolutionize photography

It’s that time for 6 stunning drone photos that will a) make you wish you had a drone b) make you want to go take pictures outside with your drone c) drool out of amazement.



Very few drone photos get above the clouds, but here’s a stunning one by Carl Jones called “A Break in the Cloud.”



This one by Scott MacBride is titled Face Down Tuesday. Thumbs up!


Drones love surfing! And we love this one by Laurent_Imagery.


The town of Maastricht, The Netherlands, by Robert Huberts.


Here’s one more by Robert Huberts.


Oat Vaiyaboon took this photo during a visit along The Great Ocean Road in Australia. This photo was taken at 12 Apostles Coastal Reserve — the last stop (and during a gorgeous sunset).

NPPA surveys use of drones in news gathering

The National Press Photographers Association launched a new study on the use of drones in news gathering in parternship with the Holland & Knight law firm.

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“Many people want to use these devices for newsgathering but are afraid to do so,” NPPA general counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher said. “How media organizations along with individual journalists seek to have the government strike an appropriate and acceptable balance between First Amendment protected newsgathering activities versus safety and privacy concerns are questions we need to answer.” Continue reading NPPA surveys use of drones in news gathering

Can Amazon drones actually deliver packages? 4 questions, 4 experts.

Amazon drones could be flying through the sky delivering your purchases in fewer than 30 minutes, according to an announcement CEO Jeff Bezos made in November.

It drew skeptics and supporters, questions and complaints. What do the experts say?

Rajapack spoke to four experts in the drone industry to get insight into whether or not the Amazon is feasible. Here’s an excerpt of their story:

01Dr. Arthur Richards – Senior lecturer in Dynamics & Control at the University of Bristol and member of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory

Q: What are the technological challenges facing the introduction of drones to this sector? What challenges will the drones themselves face during delivery?

A: The drones will need to handle wind, rain, snow, ice, curious birds or even ambitious thieves.  Solutions to many of those challenges exist in the lab, but integrating them into one robust product won’t be easy or cheap.  Proving the safety of that integrated system will be extremely tough.  Scaling the capability up to large numbers will be even tougher. Continue reading Can Amazon drones actually deliver packages? 4 questions, 4 experts.

FAA releases commercial drone cease and desist letters

The FAA released a series of documents to a man named Patrick McKay in response to his FOIA request for the cease and desist letters that were sent to commercial drone operators.

This site, as well as others including, has requested the same documentation, and the FAA is more than 7 months overdue in responding to those requests.

It’s unclear why the FAA responding to this particular request at this time.

The documents were posted by the recipient at

“The FAA has finally provided the first set of documents in response to a FOIA request I filed back in April 2013, requesting copies ‘of all records related to investigations and enforcement actions related to alleged violations of regulations, rules, policies, or advisory circulars by operators of unmanned aerial systems,’ McKay wrote. “After months of delays, excuses, and requesting extensions, they have provided copies of 17 cease and desist letters sent by various FAA regional offices to UAS operators in 2012 and 2013.” Continue reading FAA releases commercial drone cease and desist letters

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