Kagiso New Media and radio station Jacaranda FM, both of which are subsidiaries of Kagiso Media, have announced plans to run a proof-of-concept pilot starting this week that will investigate the feasibility of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide real-time traffic updates to residents of Gauteng.
The news follows several successful test flights using a remote-controlled, helicopter-like drone, the companies said in a statement.
The UAV will observe traffic congestion on the N1 highway, providing live online video feeds of traffic conditions during peak hours.
Jacaranda FM’s presenters will use the feed in their on-air traffic reports. In addition, anyone will be able to view the feed live on the radio station’s website.
“The proof of concept will last 15 days, with the UAV in action every weekday from 7am to 8am and 4pm to 5pm, and follow the safety guideline set by the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa (CUAASA),” the statement said. “After this, Kagiso Media plans to use UAVs more extensively to provide audiences with traffic information, live footage from events, and aerial, on-the-scene coverage of major news events as they unfold.”
“Pending the results of this proof of concept, we look forward to operating a fleet of UAVs that will bring our Web and radio audience up-to-the-minute news and information,” said Kagiso New Media operations GM Attila Bernariusz.
Content delivery provider Antfarm will be responsible for the video streaming bandwidth for the proof of concept. Antfarm is assisting with technical skills, stream encoding, hardware and software, and distribution of the streaming video via the Antfarm content delivery network. Users will be able to view the feeds on Windows and Mac computers, as well as mobile devices based on the Android, Apple, BlackBerry and Windows platforms.
Jacaranda FM GM Kevin Fine said it is “prohibitively expensive” to use helicopters for traffic monitoring, so radio stations depend on reports from listeners. “The UAV provides Jacaranda with a low-cost way to get objective, up-to-date traffic information that it can pass on to listeners via the airwaves. Even better, they’ll be able to look at the feed themselves to get a fix on traffic when they’re planning their routes to and from work.” — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media