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Published February 05, 2010, 10:06 PM

UND UAS Program Creates Partnerships

The University of North Dakota UAS program is partnering with Federal agencies to train and do research on UAS's.

The University of North Dakota has the only four year program for unmanned arial systems in the nation. And even though the program is just in its second semester at UND, students and even other agencies are looking to see how they can get involved.

Jeffrey Kappenman: "I do think that this UAS effort has garnered additional attention and interest here at the University of North Dakota and Grand Forks."

The Center for UAS Research, Education and Training is working on building partnerships with outside agencies to make the program even stronger.

Jeffrey Kappenman: "our first contract that we want to try to pursue is the customs and border protection folks that are here on the base. They want to train their MQ9 pilots, they need to train their MQ9 pilots and we see a contract they will come about, that we want to pursue."

But there is already a partnership in place with the Air Force to do research for them on the UAS pilots.

Jeffrey Kappenman: "What is the best way to train UAS pilots? Whats the right mix between simulation and hands on training? So if we can help them solve that they would be happy."

The research that is being done is part of a $6.1 million dollar grant from the federal government. In addition to research on the training of pilots, the Air Force also wants the university to look at what type of person would make a good pilot.

Jeffrey Kappenman: "What are the appropriate characteristics or what are the right characteristics that would make a good UAS pilot? All the different perspectives in there to include gender, is there a gender factor in there that would make a good UAS pilot?"

The enrollment in the UAS program almost tripled after the first semester... from 12 students to 35, and UND officials says they get calls about the program everyday.