When most people hear the word drone, they imagine it being used for military purposes. But new technology has made drones smaller, easy to put together and affordable. For only a few hundred dollars, anyone can pick up a drone kit at a local store and our Candace Hopkins tells us why that could change the way news is reported.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Wednesday afternoon, students at Syracuse University got their first look at what could be the future of news, utilizing drone technology. They are small, lightweight and user friendly.
"It's really interesting ‘cause the ones that I've seen have been with big remote controls that are like bigger than your face, but seeing that you can actually fly it with an iPad or an iPhone is really interesting because it's just so small and easy," said Syracuse University freshman Sam Maller.
These drones are battery operated and can be fitted to hold a camera, which means news helicopters could become a thing of the past.
"Instead of spending $600 an hour and putting people's lives at risk, sometimes the news copters go down, you can spend as little as $00 and get the same type of footage, you know, not exactly the same, but in some cases, even better," said Newhouse Professor Dan Pacheco.
And they are available anywhere that sells hobby aircraft kits, meaning gathering news from the air could be done by anybody.
"Anybody can send a camera into the sky and get pictures that would have been impossible or prohibitively expensive and share them and I think that's so cool," said Pacheco.
But if you are thinking of launching your own drone, you'll need to follow the current FAA guidelines for hobby aircraft. Those rules don't allow the drones to film people, buildings or private property. But new guidelines are expected in the coming years that would address how journalists would use the drones to capture breaking news.
The FAA predicts that nearly 30,000 drones could be in use within the United States by 2020. In addition to news, they could also be used for shipping packages, farmers monitoring crops or to shoot sporting events.