Drones are proving themselves useful in multiple ways: from delivering packages to acting as lifeguards to being spies for the military to providing Internet coverage. It’s no surprise then that media outlets are now looking at the use of drones for their reporting, especially since drones can get into areas that people, or helicopters, cannot. This summer, CNN and Georgia tech are teaming up to research the usage of drones for news coverage.
The CNN/Georgia Tech team will be looking at not just access to airspace via drones, but also at personnel and safety issues. They’ll be sharing their findings with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is currently developing new regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles. Considering the FAA has banned the use of drones for all commercial purposes, including news gathering, a large news organization like CNN wants to have some say in any rules that regulate them.
David Vigilante, CNN’s Senior Vice President, Legal, said:
“Our hope is that by working cooperatively to share knowledge, we can accelerate the process for CNN and other media organizations to safely integrate this new technology into their coverage plans.”
Drones could cover certain stories for media outlets much more effectively than humans. In areas where transportation is all but impossible, drone coverage could provide valuable information. For example, a drone could fly into a major disaster area and record video footage of the damage. Drones could also be used for investigative journalism. Of course, for that to happen, the FAA has to approve it first, so we’ll see if CNN and Georgia Tech’s research affects any rulings the agency makes.
Inlfight internet service Gogo announced today that it plans to bring new technology to partner airlines in the US that will provide more than 60 Mbps starting with Virgin America flights in the second half of next year. Dubbed “Gogo GTO” or “Ground to Orbit,” the new service offers a 20-fold increase in speeds up from the peak 9.8Mbps delivered through Gogo’s current network.
“Because we are a Silicon Valley-based airline, Virgin America guests expect a fully connected in–flight experience that enables them to remain productive even at 35,000 feet,” said President and CEO of Virgin America David Cush. “We were proud to be the first to offer Gogo’s ATG-4 product last year and we are pleased to be the launch partner for GTO, which will be another leap forward in terms of speed and performance of in–flight Wi-Fi for our guests.”
Gogo will first have to get FAA approval before rolling out next year. But when it does, this is how it will work:
Gogo will be utilizing a Ku antenna developed specifically for receive only functionality. The advantages of using satellite for reception only and Gogo’s ATG Network for the return link are unprecedented. Existing two-way satellite antennas in the commercial aviation market have limited power for transmissions so they don’t interfere with other satellites. This dynamic makes the connection from the aircraft to the ground using two-way satellite an inefficient and expensive return link compared to Gogo’s ATG Network. Gogo’s receive only antenna will be two times more spectrally efficient and half the height of other antennas in the commercial aviation market. The low profile of the antenna will result in much less drag and therefore fuel burn on the aircraft and, ultimately, greater operational efficiencies for airlines.