Become an expert on drones at Unmanned Vehicle University

Become an expert on drones at Unmanned Vehicle University

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When you think of drones, you probably think of the military or something used for surveillance. Before now, those who developed these technologies were mainly in the military, but not anymore.

A University based in Phoenix, Arizona is helping civilian students learn what it takes to get a piece of the drone action.

How about a drone delivering hot pizza right to your door, or a drone to get into dangerous places to help firefighters find the safest way to enter a burning building?

Dr. Jerry Lemieux says this is our future, and unmanned vehicles are those tools. "I really have a positive opinion of this whole industry and we're trying lead to the education and training," he said.

Dr. Lemieux believes in the up and coming technology so much he started the first university specifically for drones. It's called Unmanned Vehicle University. And it's based in Phoenix, Arizona using professors from across the country.

Doctor (Col Ret) Jerry LeMieux holds a PhD in engineering and has over 25 years of experience with research, development, technology transfer, integration and flight test and evaluation. He also has over 20 years of course development and teaching experience at major Universities and Aviation Schools including; MIT, Boston University, University of Maryland, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and Daniel Webster College. He has flown as a fighter/top gun pilot and Delta Air Lines pilot and has accumulated over 40 years and 10,000 hours of aviation experience.

"Most universities give general degrees so that gives them the capability to go in different places. We did it backwards," he said. "We started with a job and then we developed a curriculum to meet the job."

Most classes are online and range from how to fly drones to a doctorate and masters degrees specializing in engineering applications from drones.

Lorie Grabham is a student at the University "I've always loved aviation," she said. "And seeing over the last few years what has transpired in the unmanned systems, I've just started having a passion and started researching, possibly going back to school for my masters and ran into this university."

Stephen Rayleigh is an instructor. He teaches students how to build and operate small scale UAVs. Rayleigh said his classes, "give the students deeper understanding and appreciation for how the UAV works and especially when it doesn't work they know to troubleshoot it."

Rayleigh gave us an up close look at just a few of the jobs these drones can do. Like hands off flying, and drones that are sophisticated enough to have ground stations and flight plans.

There is also aerial photography. Entire maps can be created with a drone's camera. It's technology that could one day help farmers find damaged crops or monitor watering remotely without ever having to step onto the field.

"Any business that currently uses satellite imagery could get this kind of thing for a fraction of a price and its actually higher resolution than Google Earth, certainly," Rayleigh said.

It's these types of applications which those at Unmanned Vehicle University say are helping lead their students skyward and into the future.

For People living in Mohave and La Paz County, interested in the drone operation and engineering field, this is an update from Unmanned Vehicle University:

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in Arizona is implemented through the Arizona Workforce Connection, a network of partnered employment and training programs that are accessed through statewide One-Stop Career Centers.

Though part of a statewide network, each regional workforce system has a private sector driven Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB) that provides oversight on the programs and services that best serve its employers and job-seekers.

Last week, the Mohave/La Paz LWIB determined that Unmanned Vehicle University (UVU) courses and the UAV pilot training certificate provides skill sets that would enhance the employability of their regional job-seekers.

The positive support for the program will allow a One-Stop source to place eligible WIA participants in the Unmanned Vehicle University's on-line training to prepare for careers in the emerging UAV industry.

In addition, skills developed regarding sensor technology was deemed applicable to advanced manufacturing.

For more information, please contact Jen Miles, Mohave's Workforce Development Manager at 928-753-0723 ext 4254 or email


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