According to a report in GeekWire, Fox Sports will intersperse its live coverage of the US Open at Chambers Bay later this month with drone footage of competitors’ “tee-to-green” shots. The drone footage will be provided by an Austin-based company, HeliVideo, which only recently obtained a commercial exemption from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to fly drones at sporting events.
It was only in September last year that the FAA broaded commercial use of UAVs by granting regulatory exemptions to six aerial photo and video production companies, the first step to allowing the film and television industry to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has tended to be more progressive introducing new regulations that require operators of small unmanned aircraft used for aerial work purposes and those equipped for data acquisition and/or surveillance to obtain permission before they fly. Commercial (and now civilian) operators of drones in the UK must also comply with Data Protection regulations.
Although people like Atlantic journalist, Rachel Feltman claims the future of sports photography is in drones. Drones were used to provide aerial footage of skiing and snowboarding events at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. However, their use at such events has sparked safety concerns. Last year, a competitor in a triathlon in Australia suffered minor head injuries after a videographer lost control of a drone covering the event.