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Aerial drones to monitor Johannesburg traffic

March 31, 2014 • Gadgets and Gaming, Top Stories

South Africa’s Kagiso New Media and Jacaranda FM plan to run a proof of concept project in the coming days that will see the two companies investigate the viability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as a means of providing real-time, reliable traffic updates to Johannesburg residents.

Aerial drones are to monitor Johannesburg's N1 traffic (image: JacarandaFM)

Aerial drones are to monitor Johannesburg’s N1 traffic (image: JacarandaFM)

This follows several successful test flights using a remote-controlled, helicopter-like drone. The initiative is one of the first uses of UAVs in South Africa’s media industry.

The UAV will observe traffic congestion on the N1 highway, to provide up-to-the-minute online video feeds of traffic conditions during peak hours.  Jacaranda FM’s presenters will use the feed to enrich their on-air traffic reports. In addition, anyone can view the feed live on Jacaranda FM’s website (jacarandafm.com), on both PCs and mobile devices, and through live Twitter updates (@jaca_traffic).

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).

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.

Attila Bernariusz, Kagiso New Media’s GM of Operations, says: “At a group level, Kagiso Media is always looking for innovative ways to bring our audience converged services that add value to their lives. The proof of concept – a collaboration between Kagiso New Media and Jacaranda FM – weaves together radio and digital technology in a really exciting way. 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.”

Live content delivery provider, Antfarm, will be responsible for the video streaming bandwidth for the proof of concept. Antfarm is supporting Kagiso with technical skills, stream encoding, hardware and software, and distribution of the streaming video via the Antfarm content delivery network.

Staff writer

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