Sharjah: American University of Sharjah (AUS) recently inaugurated its drone academy, which it says is UAE’s first university-based drone academy.

Based at AUS, the AUS-Exponent Drone Academy has been established in conjunction with Exponent Technology Services LLC (ETS). The academy will have a Research and Development drone laboratory serving as a test-bed for drone-based research projects.

The AUS-Exponent Certificate for drone pilot training will be recognised by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and anyone with a certificate from the academy can apply for a corresponding category permit on the hobbyist or commercial level, AUS said.

For the first year, the training will be conducted jointly by AUS and ETS staff using ETS’ licensed course materials. Ground school and simulator training will be run by AUS staff, while flight training will be provided by ETS. The courses will run from between one day to three weeks, depending on the certified level of proficiency and the type of drone platform.

The first batch is expected to begin training by the end of April.

Asam Khan, CEO of ETS said: “It’s been a long road but a very fruitful one. We’ve put together a couple of initiatives with AUS, starting with the Drone Lab and now culminating with the Drone Academy. This will just be the first of many initiatives we hope to launch with the university and we’re looking forward to building a very strong partnership with AUS.”

Dr Richard T. Schoephoerster, Dean, College of Engineering, AUS, said: “This is another exciting day for AUS. We are very happy to get this drone academy off the ground. It’s going to be very important for the entire region in terms of regulating the drone space here and we are very happy to be working with our partners at ETS and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority on this.”