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Dec 24, 2013 08:04 AM EST

KSU to Offer Drones Minor Program Beginning Fall Of 2014

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Kent State University (KSU) will be offering a minor in Drone Technology though its College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology, beginning next fall.

The program will offer students "an introduction to the design, technology, performance and operational aspects" of a small aircraft, also known as drones or unmanned aerial systems. The 16-credit hour minor will be applicable to students enrolled in any of the five aeronautics degree concentrations.

John Duncan, an assistant professor of aeronautics, said that the main aim of the course is to turn the school's aeronautics department into one of the "premier" institutions in the country.

"There's a lot of pent up commercial" [interest] in the technology, Duncan said. "This is the future. All kinds of opportunities, all kinds of jobs are forecast. There are all kinds of uses," Ohio reports.

In recent times, drones have become a career-oriented academic field. The university officials predict that more than 23, 000 jobs in the field will be created over the next 15 years. Apart from using it in warfare, drones could also be used for geologic research, weather monitoring, surveying, wildfire surveillance, security, aerial photography, and delivering packages and medicines to the suburbs or to areas impacted by natural disasters.

"Failure to implement this proposal will place the aeronautics program behind leading institutions that already have UAS curriculum in place or are moving to implement curcciula to address the needs for this area," said a proposal to the university's Faculty Senate, which approved the program in February, Cleveland reports.

Already, several American universities have introduced courses in unmanned spacecraft technology including the University of North Dakota, Kansas State University Salina, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Indiana State University.

Drones are mainly used by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency in the U.S. The agency predicts around 10,000 remote-piloted planes will be operating in American airspace within five years.

Adjunct professor Charlie Wentz said, "The popularity, the fact that they're being used extensively in place of the human beings, not just in the civilian world but in the military world as well. I think these courses will bring extensive interest. Students are already talking about it."

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