The Drone Technology and Drone Media Certificates of Achievement will give students applicable skills to acquire jobs in the growing field of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). Drone Technology students acquire skills to build, control, program and use drones safely, legally, and effectively to assist our society in solving problems. The student will attain the aeronautical knowledge needed to pass the FAA Remote Pilot Exam and receive a Remote Pilot License. Emphasis is placed on utilizing and learning Computational Science. For successful completion, a students must complete the requirements with a minimum grade of 2.0 in each course required for the certificate. There are many career opportunities that this Drone Technology Certificate could be applicable for, including but not limited to: * Business photography and marketing; including realty, golf course, and large buildings * Construction site photography and management * Photography and Cinematography * Agriculture photography and management * Agriculture crop data acquisition and analysis to assist in crop management * Traffic analysis and assistance in redirecting traffic * Law Enforcement * Inspection of tall structures such as used in roof or wind mill repair.
According to the FAAforecast on aerospace in the future:
“The forecast also highlights the phenomenalgrowth in the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), often referred to asdrones. The FAA projects the small modelhobbyist UAS fleet to more than double from an estimated 1.1 million vehiclesin 2017 to 2.4 million units by 2022. The commercial, small non-model UAS fleet is set to grow from 110,604 in2017 to 451,800 in 2022. The number ofremote pilots is set to increase from 73,673 in 2017 to 301,000 in 2022.
In addition to UAS, another rapidly growing aerospace field is the FAA’slicensing, oversight and regulation of commercial space transportationactivities. The FAA projects thatcommercial space launch and re-entry operations may triple from 22 in 2017 toas high as 61 operations in 2020.” (1)
There are many otherforecasts that all point to the growth of drone technology. Here is one from The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International— an Arlington, Virginia-based trade group that itself spent $1.24 millionlobbying since 2007.
“AUVSI’s The Economic Impact of UnmannedAircraft Systems Integration in the United States report shows the economicbenefit of UAS integration. AUVSI’s findings show that in the first three yearsof integration more than 70,000 jobs will be created in the United States withan economic impact of more than $13.6 billion. This benefit will grow through2025 when we foresee more than 100,000 jobs created and economic impact of $82billion.” (2)
From the same report fromabove:
“By 2025, we estimatemore than 100,000 new jobs will be created nationally. For the purposes of thisreport, we base the 2025 state economic projections on the current aerospaceemployment in the states. We also presume that none of the states have enactedrestrictive legislation or regulations that would limit the expansion of thetechnology. These landscapes will likely shift, however, as states work toattract UAS jobs in the years following integration. Future state laws andregulations could also cause some states to lose jobs while others stand togain jobs. In conclusion, while we project more than 100,000 new jobs by 2025,states that create favorable regulatory and business environments for theindustry and the technology will likely siphon jobs away from states that donot. “ (2)
Here is another quoteabout the growth of drones from a 2013 report fromthe Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems Internationalan Authority in this area:
“FAA approval of commercial drones could leadto the creation of 70,000 new U.S. jobs within the next three years, and100,000 new U.S. jobs by the year 2025.” (2)
Here is a quote fromGoldman Sachs & Co:
“Between now and 2020, we forecast a $100billion market opportunity for drones—helped by growing demand from thecommercial and civil government sectors.”(3)
Here is another reportcalled “The US Drone Market Report 2020-2025 HIGHLIGHTS” (5)
■ According to the Drone Market Report2020 the global drone market will grow from $22.5billion in 2020 to over $42.8 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 13.8%. As thebiggest national drone market, US holds a significant portion of that figure.
■ Service is and will continue to be the largestsegment of the drone industry, but software is the fastest growing.
■ Energy is and will continue to be the largestindustry on the drone market, but Transportation & Warehousing is growingthe fastest and will be the second-largest market by 2025.
■ Commercial Drone Regulation overview showsgeneral as well as country-specific insights
■ Trends and Perspectives show what is importantin the future of the commercial drone market going forward
CompTIA is an industryauthority on CTE preparation in the tech field. They describe themselves as “CompTIA, the world's leading tech association, is a thought leader andan action leader. From our IT professional association to our leadingcertification programs, from our original research to our member communitiesand councils, our unparalleled programs set industry standards, foster skillsdevelopment and generate knowledge and insight every day.” They did an analysis of the growth of dronesin the US, here is a chart and list of top hiring industries from their website(6)
According to the Bureauof Labor Statistics jobs that will utilize drone technology are on the rise, onthe employment website glassdoor.com, there is 315 jobs listed for UAV typejobs. (4) Below is an example of data from their website.
Drones are predicted to revolutionize our society and with this, create new jobs and opportunities. The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International released an extensive report on the economic impact of drones in the US, and listed California as the number one state to “ see the most gains in terms of job creation and additional revenue as production of UAS increase, totaling more than $82 billion in economic impact from 2015-2025.“ Among other things, drones are causing a paradigm shift in the Agriculture business. We have a prime opportunity as a Community College to assist our local community in utilizing drones to better their businesses and lives.
MIT Technology Review has completed a lot of research in this area and recently published an article about the future of drones:
“Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—better known as drones—have been used commercially since the early 1980s. Today, however, practical applications for drones are expanding faster than ever in a variety of industries, thanks to robust investments and the relaxing of some regulations governing their use. Responding to the rapidly evolving technology, companies are creating new business and operating models for UAVs.
The total addressable value of drone-powered solutions in all applicable industries is significant—more than $127 billion, according to a recent PwC analysis (http://www.pwc.pl/en/publikacje/2016/clarity-from-above.html). Among the most promising areas is agriculture, where drones offer the potential for addressing several major challenges. With the world’s population projected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, experts expect agricultural consumption to increase by nearly 70 percent over the same time period. In addition, extreme weather events are on the rise, creating additional obstacles to productivity.
Agricultural producers must embrace revolutionary strategies for producing food, increasing productivity, and making sustainability apriority. Drones are part of the solution, along with closer collaboration between governments, technology leaders, and industry.” (MichalMazur, 2016).
The Drone Technology and Drone Media Certificate’s goals and objectives are meant to meet this growing need for a Drone Technology skilled workforce. Here are the Drone Technology Certificate Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):
1. Ability to build, control, repair, and fly a drone safely and effectively and within the bounds of federal regulations.
2. Acquire knowledge to pass the FAA's Aeronautical Knowledge Test and acquire a Remote Pilot Certificate.
3. Collect different types of data using drones and analyze this data to make intelligent conclusions.
4. Construct programs using different programming languages and tools that effectively analyze the data collected by the drones.
The Drone Technology Certificate validates a student’s knowledge in Drone Technology and the laws that govern drones. With this knowledge and skills the student has many pathways open to them. They are able to expand their job opportunities by being able to work with drones. This certificate also serves the purpose of exposing students to a Computational Science pathway and possibly lead them into a Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Information Communication Technology degree.
Here are the Drone Media Certificate Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):
1. The Rules and Regulations governing sUAS set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and are able to pass the Remote Pilot Aeronautical Knowledge Exam and get their Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating.
2. How to use computational science, basic electronics skills, and drone technology to solve real world problems.
3. How to collect photographs, video, and data with the use of drone technology and use that data to assist in making better decisions in the utilization of resources or to sell a product.
The two Drone Certificates are inline with Merced College’s mission:
Growing our community through education and workforce training:
career technical education
Ensuring student success through equitable access, continuous quality improvement, institutional effectiveness, and student achievement.
In getting a Drone Technology Certificate a student will acquire computational science, electrical engineering, drone technology, math and science skills. With the Drone Media Certificate the students will learn how to use drone technology to collect images and video to market and sell, use this media for inspections and in construction organization, and to make better business decisions. The student will also learn about lifelong learning and be trained to enter the workforce in a Drone Technology field. The students learn the FAA rules and regulations that govern drones, and have the knowledge to pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Exam for sUAS. Students learn to fly the drones with a common transmitter as well as how to control them with other forms of technology. They learn how to manage, repair, and maintain the drone. As well as how to choose the correct technology to solve a problem, and how to solve that problem.
These classes were made to transfer to four year institutions as Computer Science Elective courses; though as of yet they are not directly articulated to any classes because drone technology is so new that 4 year institutions do not have a similar class. We are in the process of articulating CPSC 17 to UC Merced, and hope to articulate these classes as CS electives at other institutions in the future.
The Drone Technology and Drone Media Certificates were created to meet the needs of our community for Drone Operators and give students a Career Technical Education. Here is a list of occupations that a student could get with these competencies:
Agricultural Drone Operator:
Assisting farmers in surveying their land to make the best use of irrigation and planting.
Assisting ranch owners in ranch duties that involve surveying such as checking fence lines or gathering livestock.
A consultant to farmers using sensors and/or cameras to collect agricultural data such as air quality, plant distress, soil mineral or moisture content and use this data to assist them in making decisions concerning their crops.
Farmers and ranchers could use unmanned aircraft to strategically monitor and spray their crops.
Drone technology can count crops very efficiently. “During the first few weeks after sowing seeds, growers typically conduct a manual stand count on a small portion of their field to know how many of the sown seeds roughly emerged into a healthy plant. This is very useful information to decide if they should reseed or get an estimate of the yield (based on the number of plants).”(Drone Deploy, 2018)
Construction Drone Operator:
Surveying construction sites and giving the construction managers a better perspective to manage the site.
Collect videos of pre- and post-construction conditions as required by industry standard.
Checking telephone poles, windmills, and other tall structures for needed repair.
Roof inspection is a hugely growing field that is utilizing drones. “The construction and building inspection business have embraced the technology, particularly for roof inspections. Such inspections can be done faster and at a lower cost than traditional methods with the added benefit that there is no risk to human life or the tiles or materials on the roof. Roofs tend to bear the brunt of the elements be it rain, snow or heavy winds. Regular inspections will quickly determine the extent of the damage, areas of concern and all relevant roof condition information. Such inspections without a drone are slow, labor-intensive and put the people and roof material at risk. The right drone for the job will do a complete, detailed inspection in no time at all with no risk to the roof or the people doing the inspections.” (Ford, 2018)
Surveying Drone Operator:
Potentially more cost effective to use drones to survey and make local maps compared to current technology and physical surveys.
Use drones to survey pipelines, overhead electrical transmission lines, water bodies, and markers.
View conditions of existing facilities and proposed project sites.
Access difficult terrain, and inaccessible areas, and improve worker safety.
Conservation Drone Operator:
Unmanned aircraft are being used to monitor endangered species and map the changes in various ecosystems around the globe .As drone technology advances, the use and impact of unmanned aircraft in conservation efforts will expand.
Delivery/fulfillment Drone Operator:
Google Wing and Amazon are both in the testing stages for drone delivery; in the very near future drones will be used to deliver medicine, packages, and other small items.
Disaster mitigation and relief:
Drones can go places that humans can’t access, so they are an ideal solution for dangerous search and rescue efforts, as well as for delivering emergency supplies to remote locations and disaster areas.
Heavy-duty drones can replace trucks for inventory management and moving goods between warehouses. This is likely to decrease the number of semis you see on the road.
Photography and Cinematography:
Unmanned aircraft are making impossible shots just as easy as programming your drone. Drones are also gaining ground with photojournalists who want to capture breaking news from above.
Big tech companies like Facebook and Google are experimenting with solar powered drone technology to beam Internet to remote locals. This could transform connectivity as we know it.
Law enforcement Drone Operator:
Merced and Los Banos police forces are already using drones, and we’ll likely begin to see unmanned aircraft supplementing police presence at large public events. (Granda, 2018)
Real Estate Drone Operator:
Real Estate listings are poised to change completely with high-definition videos capture by drones that fly through neighborhoods, and into every room in a listed house.
Improve their current position and skills:
Working for a company that has drone operators such as Gallo Farms, Hilmar Cheese, the police and fire departments, or PG&E.
There are no prerequisites to the beginning drone classes and these are meant to attract students with different interests other than Computer Science. The classes are meant to expose students to project based learning centered around drones and utilizing Computational Science to solve problems. Thereby, the Drone Technology pathways are also designed to give students an intro to using Computational Science and can lead the students down a Computational Science pathway such as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Information Communication Technology. Jobs in these sectors are also varied and in high demand. If the student does not choose to get these degrees the student still benefits in lifelong learning and understanding computers.
The fees for the Drone classes will be minimal and shall be similar to other classes offered at Merced College. Costs for the students to take these class will include a textbook and/or an online learning site such as Udemy. As always the Instructors try to keep the costs of the class materials to under $90. The software and hardware used in the class shall be provided by Merced College. In 2017-18 we received arising Data grant through the University of Sonoma, and NASA, to purchase the drones and materials used in one semester of CPSC 17,Drone Tech I. In 2018-19 we received Strong Workforce and Perkins Grant Funds to buy the materials and drones for CPSC 18, Drone Technology II. We used Perkins funds to buy replacement parts in the CPSC 17 class for the 2018-19 year. We believe that these funds will be provided in the future as we move our program forward.
The only other fee for the student outside of the these fees would be the $150 fee that the Aeronautical Testing Center charges to take the Remote Pilot Aeronautical Knowledge Exam so that they can receive their Remote Pilot Certificate with an sUAS rating; which allows them to fly drones commercially.
Here is a link to the pdf of this flowchart, where you can zoom in better:
These pathways are meant to give the student enough skills to utilize drones effectively to gain meaningful employment. It is also meant to give the student lifelong learning skills in new technology, and inspire them to continue onto an AS-T degree, and maybe even a Bachelors or Masters degree. The students are also exposed to the application of Computational Science and it is meant to inspire students to continue on in their studies of CS.
Here is a link to the cspathways website:
Drone Technology Certificate
The classes that are part of the Drone Technology Certificate give the student the skills of engineering design and development of ideas utilizing Computational Science. The student has many pathways that they could choose whether it be in Engineering, Drafting, Agriculture, or Computer Science.
The student is required to take the 2 Drone Technology classes, I and II, and then have a choice of at least 6 more units to take for the certificate. They must take at least one first level programming course, 3 units, and then a choice of a different STEM or Ag course that utilizes skills used in drone technology. The second group of courses includes a choice of classes from Drafting, Engineering, Agriculture, Physics, and Computer Science.
(Y1 or S1)
|CPSC-17 or CPSC-06||Drone Technology I or|
Programming and Methodology I
|3 or 3||S1|
|CPSC-14 or ENGR-14||C++ Programming||3 or 3||S1|
|CPSC-18 or ENGR-15 or CPSC-05A||Drone Technology II or|
Elementary Mechanics (Statistics) or
|3 or 3 or 3||S1 or S2|
|Agricultural Environment and Society or|
Physics I or
Fundamentals of Computer-Aided Drafting