The University of Texas at Arlington will launch an unmanned vehicle systems certificate program in the fall for engineering students interested in entering the fast-growing drone industry.
Departments across the College of Engineering and the UT Arlington Research Institute in Fort Worth will collaborate to offer the 15-credit-hour certificates, UTA said in a news release.
The UVS program will enable engineering students to design, build and program drones to help humans with things like aerial photography, security, transportation, product delivery and even space exploration. Students can earn certificates after taking five courses.
Aerospace engineering and ground robotics companies are attracted to students with UVS training, engineering Dean Khosrow Behbehani said.
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“There is a lot of activity right now in trying to bring the use of UVS to the civilian application,” he said. “Of course the military uses them already, but civilian application could really open up job market for engineers.”
University officials pointed to a study by the aerospace and defense industry analysts Teal Group that concluded that the drone industry is expected to generate more than $89 billion in spending over the next decade.
The UT Arlington Research Institute received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration in late January to host drone test flights as a part of its participation in the Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Initiative.
As a part of the certificate program, students would take classes both at UT Arlington and work on projects at UTARI, Behbehani said.
The earliest program completion certificates will be handed out next spring.
The university is working to receive approval to add UVS as an area of specialty on engineering diplomas, Behbehani said.
“I think of UVS in general [as] like an ecosystem,” he said. “It has many components, from the design part all the way to actual programing.”
The dean said that the university has a long history of working with unmanned vehicles, mostly aerial ones, and that the evolution of the field has prompted the university to push ahead.