Nav Canada and Carleton University team up to teach about drones
Pardon the pun, but drones are on the rise.
Also known as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) drones have risen dramatically in recent years, both in popularity and in the different ways they’re being used.
First responders and law enforcement officials are also employing drones in search and rescue and other operations. Drones can even deliver a life-saving defibrillator to a heart attack victim.
And then, of course, there’s Amazon and other retail giants who hope to one day use drones to deliver right to your door.
But, as Ben Parker once said, with great power comes great responsibility.
Transport Canada has implemented a number of regulations around the use of UAVs. For example, they cannot be flown within 9 kilometres of an airport without a special permit. Yet every year more pilots report drones flying dangerously close.
It appears many people are ignoring, or simply don’t know the rules. "I think the biggest issue is the lack of knowledge, especially in the general public about what you can and can't do with these systems," says Jeremy Laliberte, an Associate Professor at Carleton University’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department.
That is one of the reasons Carleton University has teamed up with Nav Canada to develop a new course devoted to UAVs. The 5-day course is debuted at the Nav Centre, Nav Canada’s professional training facility in Cornwall. It’s the first of what they hope will be an on-going and developing program on drones. "Ulitmately we would like to see degree programs offered here. That's the long-term goal," says Garry Brown, Director, International Training Programs and Delivery with Nav Canada.
It’s a course that is perhaps long-overdue for a technology that seems to be outpacing efforts to regulate it.
Transport Canada issues permits for the professional use of drones, but is having trouble keeping up with the growing demand. And the bigger problem is the average, non-professional user who can simply buy a drone over the counter and start flying it immediately. “I’ve seen them for sale at my corner store,” says Laliberte.
Right now, the course covers a broad array of issues, from basic regulations to flight principles and propulsion systems. Organizers hope to tailor the class based on feedback from the participants.