Science and Technology

Fly into your future

Griffith University is further equipping students for jobs of the future with the introduction of a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicles major.

The major in Electronics and UAV will begin in the Griffith School of Engineering in 2018 as part of the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) degree program, giving students specialist knowledge in aviation and avionics as well as a CASA accredited pilot licence for UAV or drones.

It is among eight new innovative degree programs being offered by Griffith Sciences, including a world and Australian-first Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Aviation combination.

Head of Electronic and Engineering at Griffith’s Nathan campus, Associate Professor Steven O’Keefe, said while some people still thought of drones as toys, the industry was becoming more advanced and now using Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems terminology.

“You can certainly buy small aircraft, model planes for example, which are toys but the industry is using aircraft that are far beyond that, which have much greater capabilities and require licenced pilots to fly them,” he said.

“The industry is exploding in this area. Agriculture is using this technology a great deal, the mining industry, and we’re seeing medical supplies in remote parts of the world being delivered with this technology. The military of course uses this technology, so it’s getting bigger and the aircraft are getting bigger with more capabilities.”

Joining with Griffith Aviation, students will be required to wear uniforms when attending events, with study also taking them part of the way towards their manned private licence.

With a little extra study, students can end up with a private pilot licence for manned aircraft and during their program will be trained so they can design aircraft from the ground up, equipping them with the skills to not only effectively build remotely piloted aircraft systems but fly them.

The School of Engineering is also running a drone pilot licence course in trimester three, an elective course for Bachelor of Aviation students.

During their training students will use Nathan Fields that are in controlled airspace.

This means they will need to talk to the control tower and ensure CASA permissions are in place.

Bachelor of Electronics and Energy Engineering graduate Domagoj Leskarac, who is now doing his PhD in power and energy engineering, said in his field drones were being used to inspect high voltage power lines.

“It just gets people out of danger and gives you access to some other areas,” he said.

“Having a UAV licence or a drone licence is a very important skill in the future I think because it opens up the door for more opportunity.”

Source: Griffith University

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