DAYTON, OHIO — Officials with an Ohio community college say it has taken another step toward positioning itself as a national leader in drone technology research.
Sinclair Community College officials on Aug. 26 announced plans for the renovation of an existing downtown Dayton campus building into a $5 million training and certification center for unmanned aerial systems.
The school said the center will allow students to fly UAV quadcopters indoors, Deborah Norris, Sinclair vice president of workforce development and corporate services, told the Dayton Daily News.
“It will give us more classroom space focused on UAS…,” she said.
Sinclair has had more than 150 students seek a two-year degree in its UAS program, Norris told the paper.
Despite the region being passed over for an FAA drone testing site last year, Sinclair has moved full speed ahead on the development, teaching and application of the technology.
The growth in the technology was on display Tuesday during the first day of the three-day Ohio UAS Conference in Dayton, which has drawn more than 700 people and 70 exhibitors from across the United States, Israel, Mexico and Australia, according to the Dayton Daily News.
The attendance was a record for the 3-year-old event. It featured an indoor flying competition among three colleges that was organized by the Air Force, the Daily News reported.
The commercial market for unmanned aerial systems will “dwarf” sales to the military within a decade, said Michael Tosanco, president and CEO of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
The revolutionary technology is on an evolutionary path much like computers or automobiles and will change the lives of nearly everyone when drones are integrated into civilian airspace in coming years, according to Tosanco.
“The state of the industry is more and more people want this,” he said.
Drones will increasingly take over jobs that are dirty, dull, difficult and dangerous and do them more effectively and efficiently, he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is under a congressional mandate to integrate drones into civilian manned airspace by September 2015. The FAA chose seven locations across the nation last year, rejecting a combined bid from Ohio and Indiana. But officials say the region nevertheless has led the nation in research of the technology.
A study by AUVSI said the industry would create 100,000 jobs and an $82 billion market nationally by 2025