Sinclair Unveils $300K Mobile UAS Lab at UAS Midwest

August 16, 2016

Story Photo
Sinclair Community College unveils a Ground Control Station, its newest investment in research and development of unmanned aerial systems or drones.
Tristan Navera
Dayton Business Journal

Sinclair Community College has unveiled a nearly $300,000 mobile lab as a new platform to train and simulate unmanned systems, or drones.

The school rolled out the custom-built vehicle to exhibitors at the UAS Midwest convention in downtown Dayton Tuesday. The lab marks the latest in the school's long-term investment in the development of drone technology and education. The truck, developed by Sinciar as well as Beavercreek-based Unmanned Solutions Technology and Israel-based Simlat, incorporates command and control technology for a variety of craft.

"It allows us to take a more holistic lens, take the technology out of the classroom and put it into a mobile center where students can try out the real-world uses," said Steve Johnson, Sinclair president.

The truck is networked with Sinclair's downtown campus and features '"Live, virtual and constructive" training, as well as simulation capabilities and servers to support 12 days of high-resolution data collection, the school said.

This is ever more important as simulating flights cuts down on training time and cost.

"It lets us go out and fly our UAS and integrate the flights and simulations," said Deb Norris, senior vice president of workforce development for the school. " That lets us test things that the FAA might not allow us to do."

Most of the truck was paid for through the school's UAS fund, with some of the technology upgrades coming to the school's entire UAS program. Montgomery County kicked in $20,000 for the project.

Sinclair has found a niche in the drones industry. It has already spent years developing its curriculum, putting it ahead of other schools around the country who are now looking at programs of their own. Simulation and applied research of the technology will help move Sinclair's programs forward, Norris said.

Sinclair has certificates — one- and two-year programs that have to date served more than 700 students. Its fleet of drones is now approaching 200. The drone industry is predicted to reach $94 billion and create more than 100,000 jobs as the technology rolls out into public use.

"They have an ability to rapidly develop training courses and get them out quickly, they're a real test bed for training," said Stephen Luxion, associate director of ASSURE FAA Center of Excellence for UAS.