CNN has signed an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to explore the use of drones in newsgathering and reporting.
The network said Monday that it has officially "entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement" with the FAA over using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in an effort to improve storytelling.
"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,” CNN senior vice president David Vigilante said. “Our hope is that these efforts contribute to the development of a vibrant ecosystem where operators of various types and sizes can safely operate in the U.S. airspace."
CNN is not the only network to experiment with drones. In September, the FAA allowed six separate TV and movie companies to use drones for filming. The BBC carries its own drone journalism team, and CBS News featured a video in December with striking drone footage of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in Ukraine.
Granting CNN the right to legally fly drones could prove hugely instrumental for a new method of reporting.
“We hope this agreement with CNN and the work we are doing with other news organizations and associations will help safely integrate unmanned newsgathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System," said FAA administrator Michael Huerta.