Drones

Picture taken at a Formula E Event New York. Photo courtesy of Cooper Grove

This spring Snow College will offer a new class, “Drones in Agriculture and Associated Computer Applications,” on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. in the trade building. 

The course is an introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems as used in precision agriculture. It is comprised of both lecture and lab and will focus on a hands-on learning of the hardware and software needed for use on the college farm. The class will help prepare students for federal licensing requirements with the Federal Aviation Administration Part.  

To illustrate what it’s like to work with drones, remote drone pilot Cooper Groves offered an account of his experiences. “In the last four months I’ve traveled to twelve different countries for drone racing, from places like Iceland, Ireland, and Isle of Man, to Germany, Austria, underground salt mines in Romania, and even South Korea. The out-of-body experience and freedom of flight make drone racing a very unique and addicting sport or hobby; there’s really nothing else like it. You build a real-world drone where you’re exploring the actual world around you from the air, but you’re physically sitting on the ground staring into a pair of video goggles, controlling the drone with a video-game-like remote.”  

Drones have several uses, from helping the fire department find a lost lady who has Alzheimer’s in a corn field to inspecting how an antenna is mounted or seeing damage to a hard-to-reach location. 

“Drone racing is only about two to three years old, so there are only a handful of pilots currently being paid regularly, but the sport is growing rapidly and many companies like DR1 and DRL are looking to turn it into the sport of the future,” said Groves.  

“A race in India being held next February has a cash prize purse of $150,000 and is open to pilots all over the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my sponsors pay for all my travel and hotel rooms and hook me up with free drone parts to keep me racing and pushing towards drone racing’s future,” he continued. 

There are currently more drone flights in the Air Force than manned flights. The CIA first used an unmanned predator drone in a targeted killing on February 4th, 2002 in the Paktia Province in Afghanistan. 

The new class is worth three credits and can be found under Agricultural Tech Maintenance in the course catalog online. The course will be taught by Matthew Goble. 

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