Why aren't we using UAVs instead of news helicopters?

The tragic death of four people in a collision of two news helicopers in Phoenix has prompted much discussion about whether following stolen cars and other TV-ratings fodder is worth the risk. What isn't debated is whether people want to watch that sort of thing, because the answer is so clearly yes. So why not give people what they want without risking human lives, and encourage TV news stations to use UAVs for traffic, crime and breaking news coverage instead? Seriously.

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Comment by paul hubner on August 9, 2007 at 1:20pm
Right again - the info/tainment industry will continue to push the limits, regardless of dangers. Unfortunately UAV are perceived as riskier that helis today (ie perceived threats to our 'security') . Plus helis are part of the established media flow.

Well, I'm up for selling them a flock of UAVs one of these days...

Paul
Comment by Ivan Kirigin on August 14, 2007 at 1:54pm
Obstacle avoidance is not a solved problem for drones. Networks of drones in a swarm formation can do well, but the problems of interoperability would persist the crash risks here.

Considering how much cheaper small fixed winged drones could be than helis, I'd expect the news folks to jump on the opportunity for constant tracking of a whole city.

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