CNN is launching a drone-based news collecting operation

CNN has been using drones to gather video for some time now, having employed aerial vehicles to cover such recent key stories as the Flint, Michigan water crisis and the floods that ravaged Louisiana. Unmanned aerial vehicles were also put to work during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and town halls.

The cable news network is looking to double-down on the technology resource with the launch of its new initiative, CNN Air, or CNN Aerial Imagery and Reporting for not-short. It’s still a pretty lean operation from the sound of it, employing two full-time UAV pilots to gather aerial footage for the network’s various platforms, along with other Turner and Time Warner-owned offerings.

The department will be run by CNN’s Senior Director of National Newsgathering Technology, Greg Agvent, and will be operated in partnership with Georgia Tech Research Institute. The FAA will also play a role, as the network serves up data as part of the government agency’s Pathfinders program, which is looking into all of the implications of drone-based news gathering.