Interest in drones in Singapore is high, with many in the public and private sector exploring its use. With such potential in this growing industry, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), together with Science Centre Singapore, hosted their first-ever Conference on Drone Technology for Urban Solutions on 23 January 2019 at the Tay Eng Soon Convention Centre at ITE Headquarters. Bringing together some 350 guests and over 30 industry partners, the Conference opened discussions on a variety of topics, including drone safety, its versatility and usage in the industry.
Adding Coding into the Mix
At the Conference, ITE displayed its Indoor Drone Swarming system. ITE Aerospace lecturer, Sebastian Lim, had purchased off-the-shelf indoor drone systems and wrote new codes for the drones. His background in electronics and coding led him to dabble with drones two years ago. Having successfully put together an Indoor Drone Swarming system, Sebastian plans to teach what he has learnt to students in the Unmanned Aerial Systems Club. The six-month-old Club comprises students who are interested in drones and coding technology.
New Skills for Adult Learners and Students
Increasing interest in drones has also prompted ITE to launch the Certificate of Competency in Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft (Drone) Repair, Operation & Maintenance course in 2018. The course, which Sebastian also teaches, was well-received and a total of five classes (69 participants) were held last year. As such, ITE will be introducing a new elective to Nitec in Aerospace Avionics students in July 2019. The elective in Unmanned Aircraft Systems will teach students how to fly, maintain and build drones.
Former Aerospace Avionics student, Jack Lim, 19, thinks the addition of the new elective is a good move. “There are many companies out there looking for drone pilots and if students know how to operate the drones, there is a higher chance of them getting a good job,” he said. Jack had no prior experience with drones before embarking on his Enhanced Internship at Garuda Robotics Pte Ltd during the second year of his Nitec course. He learnt to fly and build drones while on-the-job and he soon became a certified instructor.
“Learning how to fly and build drones is a useful skill. There are many uses for drones these days. You can use it in the military, or use it to survey buildings, or do dangerous work. I believe there is a bright future for such a skill,” he said. Jack is currently pursuing his Higher Nitec in Electrical Engineering at ITE.