Some answers to common questions I get in the drone industry from educators:
Drone technology changes so quickly, shouldn’t I wait?
No. You should absolutely not wait.
If your goal is to prepare your students for an emerging industry, then know you are not alone. More schools are adopting drone technology every day, some with substantial funding from grants and forward-thinking administrators.
The longer you wait for the dust to settle in drone technology, which all indications suggest won’t happen soon, the further behind you will be. My advice is to start with a basic platform like Parrot minidrones or the Bebop 2 and begin to understand what the technology is capable of today.
Then, plan to pivot. You know the technology is changing quickly, so create a plan to adapt over time as new vehicles come out with new sensors and software.
How do I keep up with such a rapidly moving industry?
You don’t. You let us do it.
The best thing you can do is partner with those of us firmly embedded in the space. We will let you know how to stay a step ahead. Let us follow the industry for you and keep you posted while you focus on instruction and innovation in the classroom or field.
Why go with a single drone company for teaching?
I hear from folks who are excited to introduce students to all the different drones on the market. Certainly you can do this, but it’s expensive and not scalable for an entire program. For an introductory computer class, instructors typically don’t buy every Mac, PC, Linux, Rasperry Pi, desktop, laptop, mobile, etc…to teach with. Similarly, photography teachers often recommend one camera as a standard learning platform.
Drones are both flying computers and cameras. Keep in mind, they also need accessories (controllers, batteries, propellers, cases, charging cables). They have evolving software that needs to be updated occasionally. If your budget goes to all the different drones, with different interfaces, accessories, and capabilities, then you will spend a lot of course time managing your hardware and software and not on drone applications. I recommend you ensure you have enough vehicles of a single, affordable platform, like Bebop 2, before you start purchasing a range of other drones for comparison learning. Start simple and build from there.