San Diego State University Opens Drone Lab to Jumpstart UAV Development

The Drone Lab is intended to promote familiarization with UAVs and spurn students and faculty to think outside the box in regards to future drone use.

San Diego State University opened a Drone Lab as a UAV innovation center on campus that makes drones available to faculty and students, with funding provided by the Aztec Parents Advisory Board. 

This new center for unmanned aerial systems technology was established with to attract students to the drone industry, with a possible jumping-off point to internships and professional employment. Those permitted to utilize SDSU’s Drone Lab as a resource are able to study and use 12 drones, disparate in their purpose and specialization. Fortunately, we’re seeing more and more of these university-based drone labs spring up, most notably perhaps the University of Michigan’s outdoor drone complex.

According to DroneLife, the intention here is to introduce a generation of SDSU students to the seemingly endless opportunities being afforded by the modern drone industry.

“The goal of the Drone Lab is to get people thinking about ways to use drones that they may have never imagined before,” said Lamine Secka, Drone Lab’s program manager and director of emergency services. 

Besides the obvious use-cases for camera-drones, such as capturing aerial footage, the center is reportedly keen on encouraging students to consider “crowd protection, surveillance and research while heading off potential dangers.” 

Having opened only last Fall, the Drone Lab has come a long way, largely in part to the gift from the Aztec Parents Advisory Board. Board member Terry Parisher, is glad the Drone Lab found the proper home. Parisher, who owns his own drone tech company focused on unmanned vehicle engineering and developing ‘Straight Up Imaging’ and has two daughters who attend SDSU.

“San Diego has a national reputation as a hub for drone development, so it makes sense for SDSU to have a center dedicated to drone use and research,” he said. “We have dozens of companies that offer services, engineering and research with drones.” 

We’ve seen drone initiatives make an effort regarding community engagement in order to familiarize locals with UAVs before forcing them into their environment, such as WeRobotics’ anti-Zika project. But even SDSU’s Drone Lab, it seems, is careful to slowly acclimate the town with its preponderance of UAV use on campus. 

“With community involvement, you get community acceptance,” said Parisher. “When you have that, you have a much easier time integrating drones into the airspace.” For those of you lucky enough to currently be enrolled at SDSU, you might want to head to the Drone Lab and learn as much as you can before this industry truly takes off.