The FAA tells law enforcement what their role is in policing UAS usage, CNN signs an agreement with the FAA to share drone journalism research results, and drones are big at the Consumer Electronics Show.
This isn’t guidance on how law enforcement can use UAS. It’s guidance on how law enforcement plays a vital role in “deterring, detecting and investigating unsafe operations.” Specifically, FAA looks to law enforcement for:
- Witness Identification and Interviews
- Identification of Operators
- Viewing and Recording the Location of the Event
- Identifying Sensitive Locations, Events, or Activities
- Notifying FAA of incident, accident or other suspected violation
- Evidence Collection
The guidance document Law Enforcement Guidance for Suspected Unauthorized UAS Operations is available as a PDF.
In June 2014, CNN and the Georgia Institute of Technology announced they would jointly study how to operate UAVs safely and effectively. At that time, they said they wanted to share the data from the study with the FAA. CNN has now signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the FAA that allows it to share the research data with the FAA.
CNN Senior Vice President David Vigilante said, “Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high quality video journalism using various types of UAVs and camera setups.”
International Consumer Electronics Show Coverage
The giant, annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) gives the industry a chance to display products that are available to buy now, and concepts that you may or may not be able to buy later. As you’d expect, there were a lot of drones at CES:
The AirDog auto-follow drone is available for pre-order ($1,295) and is envisioned for recording extreme sports.
The GoPro-ready RTF Ghost Drone ($600) can be operated by a Smartphone app.
In a CES first, there was an Unmanned Systems Marketplace on the show floor with over a dozen companies exhibiting. The FAA was close by promoting “Know before You Fly” and handing out fliers.
The Trace FLYR1 (available for pre-order) is called, “A visually intelligent smart camera that can click in and out of a multitude of self controlled motorized accessories, allowing you to stay in the moment and stream your footage live to the internet.” It can follow you at a fixed distance by tracking a pattern on your shirt.
At one of the keynote speeches, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, shows drones from Ascending Technologies that use a depth-sensing camera from Intel. This technology finds the shortest route from Point A to Point B while avoiding obstacles in the way.
CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said, “Drones are arguably the most hyped product at CES.”
There was a pink version of the Ghost Drone at CES, under the belief that the quadcopter would thus be more appealing to the female market.
DJI showed their Drone Stick, a handheld mount when you are not flying your camera. It’s compatible with the DJI Inspire 1 camera and gimbal. DJI also announced the new H4-3D gimbal, which works with the GoPro Hero4 Black camera. It also works with the DJI Phantom 2 and Flamewheel systems.
The Hexo+ drone from Squadrone System is another autonomous auto-follow drone getting a lot of attention. They call it a “self-flying camera,” but you supply the GoPro and control it through an app. Available for pre-order at $1,149.
Video of the Week
A Drone Rodeo put on by DJI for a day of racing and of fighting drones with the madmen from Game of Drones.
Geo-matching.com is an independent comparison website for geomatic (including precision agriculture) and hydrographic products. The UAS for Mapping and 3D Modelling category lets you compare different UAVs.