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Media Groups to Test Drones With Virginia Tech

WASHINGTON—Ten news media companies announced a partnernership with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to test newsgathering with drones.

Virginia Tech leads the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, one of six test sites established by Congress to collect data on the use of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS. Congress set up the test sites to assist the Federal Aviation Administration 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 coalition includes Advance Publications, Belo, The Associated Press, Gannett, Getty Images U.S., NBCUniversal, The New York Times Co., The E.W. Scripps Co., Sinclair Broadcast Group and The Washington Post.

The coalition has been working since mid-2014 through the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP, to develop the testing protocols with Virginia Tech. The announcement follows one by CNN that it received clearance from the FAA to test drones for newsgathering.

January 12, 2015
“CNN Gets FAA Clearance to Test Drones ”
CNN entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the FAA to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into newsgathering and reporting.