(Source: The Epoch Times)
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as drones, are commanding an increasingly ubiquitous presence in the 21st century: they’re a fixture on our farms, in backyards, and even at the White House. Now, drones are invading our universities.
In late August, Sinclair Community College and Ohio State will host the first drones summit, an event dedicated to helping researchers keep up with the latest development in the newfangled technology. The summit comes just a few years after American universities created drone studies as a technical field that students can major in.
A Bachelor of Science program in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) was first offered at Kansas State University—Salina, in 2008, funded as part of a relief package for future disaster prevention. A UAS major was created at the University of North Dakota in 2009, and similar programs have since spread from the Midwest to across America, and the world.
Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida developed a program in 2011, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks started offering a minor in UAS in the fall of 2014.
The University of Southern Denmark is in the process of creating a two-year master’s, calling it Europe’s first drone studies program.
But forget about images of classrooms out in a field with everyone’s flying drones. As with most technical fields, actual training in UAS isn’t that hands-on. When students get the chance to practice piloting drones at all, they’re more likely to do so on a simulator than with the thing itself. Much of the curriculum deals with how to write and use UAS software, and with aerospace regulations.
Hands-on education in drone school would happen more if it weren’t for the diversity of drone manufacturers, who produce autopilot systems that are dramatically different from each other. Although some expect this problem to subside when Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations force autopilot systems to standardize.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com