While drones have, thus far, mostly been a solution looking for a problem, mainstream media figures that they can use the flying quadcopters to take pictures of the news. Mega-outlet CNN has already announced plans to make drones part of news coverage but it isn't the only one looking to leverage UAVs.
A group of 15 other news companies are partnering with Virginia Tech to run trials of their own. The university's facility in Bealeton, Virginia is one of the few FAA approved test sites for such activities.
The group of media companies includes Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Getty Images, USA Today, NBC Universal, Univision and others. The group has worked with the National Press Photographers Association to create guidelines for the trials, though its unclear why such agreements would be needed.
"The research testing we are initiating will provide the news media coalition a safe and innovative way to gather and disseminate information and keep journalists out of harm's way," said Rose Mooney, the executive director of Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.
The testing begins today and will focus on the use of drones in both remote and urban locations.
Video capture is the leading market for drones, which aren't capable of carrying heavy loads. Cameras and video recording equipment is now high quality and extremely light, making it the perfect payload for drones. The footage is already being used extensively in reality TV shows, where a cheap drone camera rig can capture shots previously only possible with expensive helicopters.