SA pilots traffic-monitoring drones

Media company Kagiso, through its radio station Jacaranda FM, is investigating the viability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, as a means of providing real-time, reliable traffic updates to Gauteng’s residents.

Kagiso aims to run a proof of concept project this week, it said, and follows several successful test flights using a remote-controlled, helicopter-like drone.

The drone 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.

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).

Kagiso said it 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.

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.

“The UAV industry is in its infancy in South Africa, but many industries worldwide have adopted UAVs to simplify their tasks and improve the quality of work – among them film, agriculture, photographers, and real estate development,” said ‎Craig Corte, chief digital officer at Kagiso Media.

Live content delivery provider, Antfarm, will be responsible for the video streaming bandwidth for the proof of concept.

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SA pilots traffic-monitoring drones