Chinese news outlet Hubei Daily Media Group reportedly plans to begin employing unmanned drones to take aerial photographs, according to a job notice the company released.
According a report published by Chinese Radio International on Thursday, Hubei will purchase two unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, and is seeking a drone operator. Chen Yong, head of the company’s Aerial Photography Center, said that the move will enable the company to obtain unique photographs while bypassing the high costs associated with renting helicopters.
"The project not only helps cameramen to take photos or videos from a unique perspective in high-definition but also removes high costs and eliminates the safety concerns involved with rented civil helicopters during previous aerial reports,” Chen said.
Hubei’s planned acquisitions represent an emerging global trend of drone use within the field of photojournalism. Last September, CRI reported that another Chinese media outlet in Chongqing executed a large-scale aerial photography operation using drones.
CRI’s report also came on the heels of another report by the Blaze that a Minnesota business profiting off drone photography had been suspended by the Federal Aviation Administration. According to the Blaze, Charles Eide and Mike Danielson’s business Fly Boys Aerial Cinematography had been booming when the FAA ordered them to cease operations. The FAA reportedly told the business partners that their drone use violated federal regulations by illegally occupying Class B airspace, or airspace in metropolitan areas in close proximity to central airports.
The FAA is still working to pass new regulations that would make airspace more available for civil drone use, but that hasn’t dampened optimism. The University of Missouri Journalism School has already begun instructing students on how to use drones to do reporting and photography, and some experts estimate that the number of unmanned aircraft to hit the sky in the next decade could be as high as 30,000. "We have a class here of journalism students who are learning to fly J-bots, for journalism robots, or drones," William Allen, a journalism professor who agitated for the program, told ABC. "So they learn to fly them and also do what reporters do: brainstorm ideas, go out and do reporting, do drone-based photography and video. We're trying to see if this is going to be useful for journalism.”
According to ABC, the FAA is scheduled to relax its regulations on civilian drone use by 2015.