CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology Educational Consortium, which is made up of Del Mar College, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence and Innovation at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, recently received a $788,000 National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant to develop and implement a UAS education program.
“The Island University is proud to be a part of this new UAS Educational Consortium,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of A&M-Corpus Christi. “As one of six FAA approved test sites, it was a natural progression for the Island University to help expand UAS education programs which will improve the use of drones in the Coastal Bend and all of Texas.”
The new education program will be offered at Del Mar College and will include classes in UAS and Remote Sensing. These classes will instruct students in drone technology, their use for mapping and other applications, safety for flight operations, and federal regulations. Dr. Michael Starek, Assistant Professor of Geospatial Surveying Engineering and Geographic Information Science (GISc) at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Co-Primary Investigator for the grant proposal, will assist with developing the curriculum as well as engage participants in relevant research and internship opportunities.
“I am very excited to be working with Del Mar on this project,” said Starek. “UAS education is incredibly important for our community. These classes will benefit all of our students greatly.”
The grant will run through June 2019 and foster articulation agreements between the Island University and Del Mar College. The program will enable Del Mar’s Geographical Information Science students to apply credits from the program toward the pursuit of either a Bachelor of Science in GISc or a Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Information Mapping at A&M-Corpus Christi.
The use of UAS is far reaching and fast becoming big business. Hobbyists may be flying drones for fun, but the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International predicts an $82 billion impact to the national economy and the creation of over 100,000 jobs across the country over the next 10 years.