College of the Extended University

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First of its Kind in California, Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Operator Program Takes Off


Cal Poly Pomona will be the first accredited institution in California to offer a certificate program in UAS operations. Details will be unveiled at information meeting on July 11.

POMONA, Calif. –Cal Poly Pomona will soon be the first institution in California to offer training courses on flying unmanned aerial vehicles. In the fall, Cal Poly Pomona’s College of the Extended University will debut a program that allows participants to begin the process to become a certified unmanned aerial system (UAS) operator. 
The first course, planned to launch Oct. 5, is the Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) Operator certificate program. Small UAVs are those under 55 lbs. No prerequisites are required to enroll in the SUAS program. The Advanced UAS Operator certificate program, for larger UAVs, is planned for winter quarter. 
According to a 2013 economic impact report, the integration of UAVs into the National Airspace System (NAS) will create 70,000 new jobs (34,000 in manufacturing) , and will have a $13.6 billion economic impact within the first three years. UAVs are of particular interest for applications that include newsgathering, law enforcement, crop monitoring, and inspection of railroad infrastructure.

“The certificate programs are designed to fully prepare people to enter this emerging field” said Subodh Bhandari, professor and director of Cal Poly Pomona’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Lab. “There is tremendous potential for the state’s economy and this program will be a valuable resource for people and industry.”

Bhandari, considered a leading figure on UAS, is on the advisory board that created the curriculum for both certificate programs. In 2011 he received a $360,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation for the study of UAS. 
CEU will hold an information meeting with Bhandari and other industry experts on July 11 from 9 a.m. to noon at 3670 W. Temple Ave. in Pomona for those interested in this emerging technology. To attend the information meeting, register online Cost is $25.

ABOUT: Cal Poly Pomona’s College of the Extended University (CEU) extends educational opportunities to the public, business, and international communities.