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Continuing Education

Industrial UAV Systems  

Using aerial vehicles to aide in industrial applications
Entry Level - NO Prerequisite
3 Credits

This is a course on the design, assembly, operation and maintenance of remote aerial vehicles to be used in industrial applications. We will cover all the individual components used to create these vehicles as well as how to calculate load and speed requirements to be able to make decisions as to which of these components would be best suited for your application. Students will learn to configure, troubleshoot, and where to purchase equipment needed to design, build, and maintain custom aerial vehicles specifically suited to the task needed.

** 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.
  • Students will have plenty of time to develop their skills, but 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.

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 also be preparing students to pass two industry certifications. The necessary certifications are likely to change as this field grows, but for now we'll be focusing on the FAA 14 CFR Part 107 certification and the FCC HAM radio license. The FAA requires Part 107 certification for any commercial use (Including making money of YouTube videos...) and the FCC requires licensing for the use of some of the video transmission equipment. This all seems to be in flux at the moment and subject to change as new information presents itself.

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

Check out these videos detailing the possibilities:
Industrial UAV Inspection Demo
Airware Aerial Inspection for the Telecom Industry
Two Drone Cell Phone Tower Inspection with GPS and Heading Values
FlyWorx Aerials : UAV/Drone uses in Industrial & Commercial Infrastructure Inspections
UAV- / Drone-based industrial & civil infrastructure inspection with the AscTec Falcon 8

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  • 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.