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Continuing Education

Micro UAV Systems Online  

Online Training
Learn how to build and utilize sub 250 gram aerial vehicles
Entry Level - No prerequisite training but be prepared for "high-tech" topics
* Soldering station and materials are needed
* Webcam and microphone are needed
3 Credits

Software Needed:
You can install if you like but at least check the system requirements.
Betaflight Configurator
This is an optional item and might be included in class
Liftoff Flight Simulator
Typically installed through Steam

Online Class Times
In order to be sure students in our online programs get the help they need, the listed class times are broken into two sections. The first hour is for the typical class lecture and discussion of topics and the last hour is an optional period of time to spend working on projects with instructor oversight. If you feel you can complete the daily tasks on your own at another time you are welcome to. We originally planned for project tasks to be completed during off hours but this didn't seem practical and highly prone to errors so all future classes will have this structure.

Course Overview
This course is structured similar to the Industrial UAV Systems class but differs in the primary technology and utilization. Due to new technological developments it's now possible to build aerial vehicles under 250 grams that can move around at high speeds (nearing 100mph), and still have 4K HD video recording. These "micro drones" have been around for a few years, but just recently (late 2019) has a solid HD camera solution been available that doesn't exceed the 250 gram limitation, and not induce latency in the visual flight system. This opens up more possibilities for these devices in industrial and commercial application. Our goal is to train students to build, fly and repair these devices but also spark their imagination in what possibilities are available rather than just racing and other recreational uses.

Many recent innovations have been brought together to create such an advanced, small sized form factor vehicle that can still be utilized for practical use. Smaller toy drones do exist, but these vehicles have nowhere near the stability and control needed to operate outdoors in even mildly harsh environments. High powered small diameter brushless DC motors, faster microprocessers, and advanced stabilization software have all lead to the current iteration of these flying vehicles.

Distance Learning Specifics
This has been one of our high demand courses that, like a few others, almost isn't possible do online. In order make this work, students will have to have the necessary equipment for soldering electronics, a well lit area, good ventilation and a place to store their work out of harms way. For some of our students this is a typical situation and would not be an issue but we do realize that this is not the case for all. Unfortunately though, this has to be the case so please understand this before registering. Having said that we did create the SMD Soldering Online course that will provide materials that could meet these requirements as well as the requirements for our other robotic courses. If you plan on building and maintaining UAVs and/or getting into the UAV industry having a dedicated electronics/robotics lab is really a necessity.

The online structure of class will consist of one hour live video conferencing for lecturing and questions, and a second optional hour to spend working on labs. We understand if you might have to miss a session and can usually work with you, but if you know you can't make a larger portion of the live times, please look for another time slot.

We will have pre-recorded videos for students to watch during off hours. These will compliment the live lectures and give students a learning source they can watch repeatedly. These videos and other important information will be held on a class website.

The class website will contain device documentation, vendor information, technology concepts and quizzes. The quizzes will be an important part of this online program which students will have to pass in order to complete the course. We will talk through all the quizzes during our live sessions and anyone that shows up for class will have no problem making it through. We will not blind side you with stray questions we never talked about yet expect you to know.

Currently we will we using Webex as our video conferencing software. You do not need to make an account to join the live sessions. An email will be sent out to all students including the time and dates, web link to the meeting and password. You will need to have a webcam and microphone for this class.

The class kits will have to be picked up from the school. In the future we will get a shipping process sorted out for those that do not live in the area, but for the moment local pickup only. We are very interested in being able to reach those around the country so this will happen eventually.

** Other Important Class Information **
It should be stressed that this class demands a lot of technical application. Some of the key points are listed below.
Please do not sign up for this course if you are not prepared to deal with fairly complex technological concepts.

  • We are teaching this course to prepare individuals for the perceived wide spread usage of remote aerial vehicles in all industries.
  • Students will learn to build from the component level frequently without any specific "step-by-step" directions from manufacturers.

  • There will be a great deal of soldering involved in the course.

  • These are not autonomous vehicles. We do not use GPS or any other navigation mechanisms. We feel this takes the student further away from the core understanding of the vehicle operation.

  • The components of these vehicles are typically very cutting edge new technology. Students should not expect to find materials or equipment as part of a kit. These are not made by the same manufacturer nor do they have detailed interoperability diagrams. Therefore step-by-step, or the clearest of instructions is not at all expected. Please understand this fully and be prepared for it. Learning how to learn what to do, rather than what to do for this specific instance, is a core concept of the course.

  • As an example of the rate of technology change, most of what we are building will change within a few months. Often sooner. A vehicle from two years ago is nearly antique in comparison.

  • You will inevitably crash the vehicle you build in class (often very early on) as you're learning how to navigate. This is shocking to some but it is the nature of this field. In our eyes this makes for the perfect training tool. You will have to learn to repair these robotic systems or you won't have an operational aircraft

UAV History
One of the topics in class is the evolution of these vehicles over the years, especially how quickly things have changed in just the past two or three years and how many peoples perception of a drone may be based on technology several revisions past (even though this might just be a few years back). Due to massive advances in electronic hardware, physical hardware, and configuration software these vehicles have decreased in sized, increased dramatically in speed, but also stability and control. These types of vehicles might look to some like toys, but in reality are highly specialized professional vehicles complete with telemetry feedback and first person video, capable of performing precision tasks much more efficiently than their earlier predecessors. We will always stay as close to the state of the art in this technology as possible which means the components used in class will change.

Flight Training
Piloting these aircraft is also a strong element of the class. In order to perform tasks in the field or in factory you will need to develop strong navigational skills, which is by no means an easy task. There are many toy drones you can buy that are incredible simple to fly because of all the control software enabled on them, but if you want to do anything more advanced, this is a major limitation. Another reason it's imperative to have the good flight skills is to understand the control software and how to tune an aerial vehicle to your needs. PID feedback loops, flight modes, and stick rates are just a portion of this. We do have simulation software and practice vehicles to provide training in these areas.

This technology is growing at an incredible rate and people are beginning to see these in one form or another in many places. The accessibility of toy indoor micro drones has created a high visibility of the UAV concept, yet what we want to impress upon everyone in class is that as the technology has decreased in sized to the point where they can look like toys, the power and velocity are increasing. So be fully aware that these are professional machines, and can be extremely dangerous. We've been teaching manufacturing course for many years now, and of all the dangerous shop equipment, these machines require a much higher sense of awareness and compliance to safety protocols.

Due to the safety requirements, as well as local regulations, we will discuss all the current requirements around the use of these vehicles and what students might want to do if they wish to use these for profit.

RF Communications
Antenna theory and practical application
Three phase brushless motor operation
Electronic Speed Controls
Battery Theory and Technology
Power Requirement Calculation
PID Control and computer based flight control
Soldering (This is a major part of class)
Composite Materials
Precision measuring tools
Hand tools
Community resources

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To Register:
  • Click "add to cart
  • Create an account
  • Make payment online (Boeing employees choose "Voucher")
  • Complete the admission form below:

  • Admission Form
  • Call The BTC (425-640-1840) and give them the number of the class you wish to register for

Contact Damian Cianci at if you have any questions.

The Business Training Center of Edmonds Community College has been "off-campus" in the heart of the community providing practical industry focused education since 1998.


Micro UAV Systems Online  -- CLASS IS IN SESSION --
Item: M363  Credits: 3.00   Damian Cianci, Brendon Seaver
3:45 PM - 4:45 PM Location: Online Only - Advanced Aerospace
Sessions: 12 Tu Th  
10/13/2020 - 11/19/2020