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Drone technology finds its way to campuses

DAYTON, Ohio – Ohio State University said it will partner with a southwest Ohio community college to position students at both institutions for careers in drone technology.

Officials at Ohio State and Dayton’s Sinclair Community College said the unmanned aerial systems field is expected to be a $90 billion industry by 2025. The technology is expected to create 100,000 new jobs in areas such as precision agriculture, public safety and mapping of pipelines or utility lines.

The partnership with Ohio State will give Sinclair students a pathway to a four-year degree in related area, the Dayton Daily News ( reported.

Sinclair was the first in the state to offer a program to earn a certificate in unmanned aerial systems. Ohio State students now will have the opportunity to earn the certificate from Sinclair with their degrees.

“We believe this is a transformative technology,” Sinclair President Steve Johnson said Monday. “We believe there are many jobs to come with this and we believe Ohio should be, is and can be poised to take advantage of this.”

Sinclair has gotten permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly its drones at the Springfield-Beckley Air National Guard Base and the Wilmington Airpark. Officials said the college also will seek a certificate of authorization to fly over the Don Scott Airport in Columbus and the Molly Caren Agricultural Facility near London, west of Columbus.

Development officials in Ohio and Indiana have said they plan to operate their own test ranges for unmanned aircraft and seek ways to attract drone-related businesses, despite losing in their joint bid to be one of six FAA national test sites earlier this year.