It had to come. Sadly, it will not be called Drone U. That would convey images of bored professors teaching bored students — the correct image for 800 years. This one will be called Unmanned Vehicle University. Really. I am not making this up.
Too bad that uvu.edu is already taken. Maybe uvuiou.edu is available.
The president of UVU is Jerry LeMieux. He is all heart. ““At the end of the day, I’m just trying to do something good for the unmanned systems community.”
So, unmanned systems are a community. I had not known this. Silly of me. There are hundreds of millions of federal dollars at stake. Of course there is a community. A community of interest.
He is not alone. Other schools are trying to cash in — sorry — provide community.
UVU has received accreditation from some group or other.
It offers online courses. But this is only the beginning. “Col. LeMieux envisions a sprawling campus in Lake Havasu, Ariz.” In contrast, I envision a small room with a computer and a large bank account.
Courses taught so far: unmanned vehicle design, system fundamentals.
What about telephoto photography, encrypted telecommunications, press release fundamentals, federal grant procedures, marketing to sheriffs, public relations, and Fourth Amendment loopholes?
This is a growing field, which will look for growing fields.
Drones are now available only to military and law enforcement agencies, but the Federal Aviation Administration is gearing up to begin granting personal and commercial licenses in 2015.
Then there is licensing. What is a college degree worth if there is no licensing?
Col. LeMieux, along with other institutions in the traditional world of higher education, are angling for FAA certification, so that after obtaining a degree, an operator will be fully licensed by the federal government.
Mr. LeMieux says: “A lot of schools are trying to get into this game.”
If his school doesn’t get off the ground, the University of North Dakota offers a major in the field. The downside is that you must go to school in winter in North Dakota. If the program ever gets on line, the tuition money will roll in.