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Use of Drone in higher education
November 17, 2014, 11:29 am

In just a few decades drones have evolved from secret military weapons to vehicles capable of delivering pressed pants or hot pizza to your door. So it is no wonder some universities are developing new degree programs in drone technology.

The unmanned aerial vehicle industry, an emerging market, exposes students to new career opportunities in modeling and simulation, and exposes them to in-demand technology and skills in a variety of industries, including drones. A game-changer in the geospatial world, creating simulations of a drone flying over Afghanistan or fighting a wildfire allows students to take concepts like physics and engineering to see how they work in the real world.

As unmanned aircrafts take up a more permanent place in society, some schools are starting to get serious about drone degrees. Have a look at some such uses of drone in higher education:

Geospatial: Enable student projects exploring the intersection between art and technology and research, such as gathering data such as sacred forests in Ethiopia, mapping lava flows in Ecuador, and surveying the forest canopy in Costa Rica.

Loan drones to student for checkout and experimentation: Given a good reason to use it, the University of South Florida hopes to lend drones to students to work on high end technology projects.

Edutainment: Conduct autonomous robotic chess tournaments. One such autonomous chess board is 1MW Chess Robots. The humans can communicate and arbitrate amongst themselves and play chess against the robot team by communicating their moves to the robots by means of a large pressure sensitive and high-tech modular chess board.

Create promotional flybys of key campus buildings and features and virtual holiday greeting videos.

Capture footage of sports events: Advantages of using unmanned aerial vehicles in sports are that they allow video to get closer to the athletes, they are more flexible than cable-suspended camera systems.

Record footage of unique campus events, such as picnics or move-in-weekend. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA in the U.S.) regulations generally permit hobbyist drone use when they are flown below 400 feet, and within the UAV operator’s line of sight.

Take unique photographs from hard to reach places: Scientists who study wild animals get as close as possible to their subjects without stressing them out or disrupting their natural behaviors through remote controlled drones.

Facilitate inspections of buildings and monitor construction projects: Developments in a building construction project can be mapped efficiently as Jeffrey Quilter, an archaeologist with Harvard University said, "You can go up three meters and photograph a room, 300 meters and photograph a site, or you can go up 3,000 meters and photograph the entire valley."

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