While it’s true that many graduate degrees are not viewed as marketable in the tech-oriented marketplace (and, yes, we ARE looking at you Medieval Alchemy Studies), one European university is looking to the sky to launch students into the emerging drone industry.
The University of Southern Denmark recently announced plans to launch a two-year Master’s of Science/Engineering program in drone technology.
Dubbed “the first of its kind in Europe,” the program is expected to launch in September and SDU officials say it will produce engineers who will “develop technology for the drones’ budding industry adventure.”
And that’s an adventure that could spell a huge paycheck for trained UAV specialists. A recent European Union report predicted that the UAS industry will comprise 10 percent of the overall European aviation market by 2024 – representing 15 billion euros in investment per year
SDU faculty dean Henrik Bindslev believes the university’s reputation as a leader in robotics will make the drone program a natural fit. “Robot research is an essential basis for being able to educate engineers specializing in drone technology,” he said. Bindslev noted that SDU’s close proximity to HCA Airport will provide “Denmark’s most substantial drone testing facility.”
“Much of our knowledge about robots can be directly transferred to drones, for example in the sensors which make sure that drones don’t fly into obstacles, other air traffic or each other,” adds the program’s director Kasper Hallenborg.
Hallenborg points out that “the partnership with UAS Denmark and our business network gives us an invaluable opportunity for creating synergy between research, innovation and education. Students can test out their knowledge in practice just as we expect that many of them can write their thesis with the drone companies which use the airport.”
Marrying UAV tech with academia is nothing new –especially in the U.S. A New York Times report on university drone programs stated “The University of North Dakota was first, in 2009, and has about 120 students in the field. Last May, Kansas State University Salina graduated its first student with a Bachelor of Science in unmanned aircraft systems. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University started offering the degree in 2011 at its Daytona Beach, Fla., campus, and now has 89 UAS majors.”
At North Carolina State University, engineering students are being challenged to build better drone computing technology. Professor David Guo is leading students in a drone-construction project at Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire. And drone-studies grads will be entering a sweet job market. Last year Business Insider interviewed Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) grad Jeb Bailey, “who says he’s taken every drone related class the school offers.” Bailey witnessed firsthand how lucrative the trend may become after seeing one of his classmates take a job as a contractor after graduation. “He got like $200,000 per year,” Bailey said, “and he didn’t even finish his associate’s degree.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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