The second annual UA Drone Day unites experts in different fields of drone technology


The University of Arizona hosted its second annual Drone Day on Friday, April 28. The event featured a variety of presentations on the functions and applications of drones in different fields. (Courtesy David LeBauer)

Samuel Ellis

The second annual University of Arizona Drone Day brought together a diverse group of undergraduate students, graduate students, professors and industry professionals at the UA Main Library on Friday, April 28 to discuss the vast applications of drones in today’s world.

The event started at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and chatting followed by several presentations on topics including the applications of drones for agriculture, education, geological safety and Mars exploration. 

Although the applications were different, the use of drones united these attendees to share ideas about how they might use drone sensing a little bit differently moving forward in their research.

“We’ve had some great conversations today and learned a lot about other drone users at U of A and [that] allows us to compare our ideas and see what everyone else is doing,” said Tyler Meng, a graduate research associate in the Terrestrial and Planetary Investigations and Reconnaissance laboratory.

Attendees exchanged contact information and business cards after seeing each others’ presentations and learning the ways other people are using drone sensing in their fields. 

“It always amazes me how people from disparate fields find such common threads. You have people that are trying to detect [the] thickness of glaciers under several meters of rock communicating with people and having the same interest as somebody that is detecting fissures in the Earth,” said Chris Schnaufer, one of the original organizers of UA Drone Day last year.

Kristina Riemer, the current organizer for UA Drone Day, says that next year attendees will be able to fly drones themselves and there will be more structured group discussions alongside the presentations. 

To learn more about drones, sensors and applications, the department of communications and cyber technologies hosts a monthly drone discussion group on the last Monday of every month. More information about that can be found at the UA Drone User Group website.

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