Florida University to lend drones to students

Written by PTI | Houston | Updated: Jun 23 2014, 00:12am hrs
StudentsThe USF is taking a different approach to drones, making the technology more accessible to its students. Reuters
Students at a university in the US will soon be getting their hands on more than just books.

The Tampa campus of the University of South Florida (USF) plans to offer drones for students to check out for school- related projects at a time when US authorities are starting to limit the access of the remotely-controlled pilotless planes.

The USF is taking a different approach to drones, making the technology more accessible to its students. The library purchased two drones that are capable of taking aerial video and photography.

The library's hope is to integrate new technology to its services. In the past year, the library has worked to expand its "Digital Media Commons" in an effort to promote digital learning.

Now, USF's library is taking it a step further by giving students the opportunity to operate the drones, which are valued at USD 1,500 apiece.

Dean of USF Libraries Bill Garrison says the drones could be a great resource for students working on multimedia projects.

"We have a global sustainability programme, and they are mapping out the campus to see energy usage, so they can use the drones to help map out the campus," he explained. "There are a lot of opportunities for research and learning by using drones. And the faculty can use it, too."

For flying these drones, the students will need to enroll in a training course. They will also be required to provide an explanation on how the drone will be utilised in a school project, and they must be supervised by a faculty member while operating it around the campus.

As of now, the programme aims to keep the drones on USF's campus unless a professor makes the case for an exception, and students will be liable for any damages to the equipment.

Garrison says the move to introduce drones to the school's library service is part of a larger effort to stay relevant on campus by providing more digital learning tools.

The National Park Service on Friday announced that drones are not allowed to fly over 84 million acres of land it owned in the US.