Since starting this UASTEC project, I’m becoming more and more aware how intrusive this new autonomous navigation technology is becoming in disrupting our lives. Don’t take that statement as a negative one. By disrupting, I mean changing the way we will do things we take for granted today. For example, the simple act of driving to work or school.
Autonomous navigation (AN), and all it’s variants, like Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), will soon become one of the largest industries in the world. I’m just happy we here in the US appear to be leading the charge. Just like we did a generation or two ago with the advent of TCP/IP networking that led to the Internet; our US-based technologist, scientist, engineers and inventors are leading the way in autonomous navigation. For example, I just finished a call from a group of open source GIS software entrepreneurs in NYC who seek anyone with a routing solution they could incorporate and partner with Uber. Sebastian Thrun, the genius behind Google’s self-driving cars and Udacity, recently stated technical talent in the field of autonomous navigation is worth $10M per person!
This leads to the purpose of our new UASTEC project. We are here to build a new UAS training curriculum for workers in the GIS and related industries. The need for workers with UAS skills is projected by the US Dept of Labor to reach a total of 10s of billions by 2020 according to the Business Journal:
The UASTEC Project is a joint collaboration between Del Mar College and Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi and the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence. We are funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program. Our goals include: a) creation of an articulated degree program in UAS, b) development of four new UAS courses, c) increase the participation of women and minorities in STEM education and d) preparing our local technology workforce in the use of UAS technologies. We’re excited to be a very small part of what will soon become a very large thing!