New drone lab takes flight at San Diego State University

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Getting a "degree in drones" could soon be a reality at San Diego State University.

The school launched a Center for Unmanned Systems Technologies, also known as The Drone Lab, and it's getting attention from around the world.

"That's what we're really trying to push with the lab, start thinking about how you can use drones in ways people haven't yet," said Lamine Secka, Director of Emergency Services. "Do more than take pretty pictures with them."

The lab has 12 drones and counting in its fleet, each serving a special purpose. One is specifically designed for public safety. The team envisions using it for surveillance at special events, shining spotlights or delivering warnings with loudspeakers. 

Students and staff will have full access to the drones. The geography department has already utilized one to do a 3D Mapping of campus. 

The drone lab teams also hope to become a resource for the greater community.

"Helping fire departments or police departments or search and rescue or even just film," said Kevin Powers, Drone Lab Program Manager, "I believe the lab we created here can help in all of those aspects."

Eventually, the team plans to develop a full undergraduate curriculum in unmanned systems.

The Drone Lab was made possible by an establishing gift from the Aztec Parents Advisory Board. Efforts to secure funding were led by board member Terry Parisher, who runs an unmanned vehicle engineering and developing a company called "Straight Up Imaging."

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