WATCH: CNN can now use this drone camera to cover news

Co-founder of Vantage robotics, Joe van Niekerk (Photo: Screengrab, YouTube)
Co-founder of Vantage robotics, Joe van Niekerk (Photo: Screengrab, YouTube)

Cape Town – CNN has been approved by America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly camera drones over large crowds of people in the United States during breaking news events in order to broadcast aerial panoramic shots to viewers.

CNN will soon start to use these unmanned aircraft systems or UAS over crowds of people after it received approval.

"This waiver signifies a critical step forward not only for CNN's UAS operations, but also the commercial UAS industry at large," says David Vigilante, CNN's senior vice president of legal in a statement.

"We are truly grateful to the FAA for allowing CNN to demonstrate its continued commitment to safe UAS operations".

The FAA now allows CNN to operate the Snap UAS, a frangible aircraft with enclosed rotors that's made of "deformable material", over crowds of people.

"Vantage created the Snap for the purpose of safely capturing aerial video over people," says Tobin Fisher, Vantage Robotics CEO. "We are pleased that Vantage was able to work with CNN to present and establish the safety case for the Snap to the FAA".

More about the drone that will be used:

The Snap camera drone weighs 500 grams and its four rotors are encased to reduce the chances of injury. It even fits in a backpack!

Here’s a video – featuring co-founder of Vantage robotics, Joe van Niekerk – showing the drone camera in action:

The Snap is designed to break into harmless smaller pieces if it crashes and can be "snapped" back together and reused after a crash.