Hive for drone enthusiasts

Trainers at the Republic Polytechnic UAV Centre Mark Tay (left) and Sasidharan Nair at work. The centre, which will be officially launched on Thursday, will also offer training courses for the public.
Trainers at the Republic Polytechnic UAV Centre Mark Tay (left) and Sasidharan Nair at work. The centre, which will be officially launched on Thursday, will also offer training courses for the public.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

A new drone centre at Republic Polytechnic will also open its doors to people who want to learn how to fly these unmanned craft. Students can try their hand at tinkering with them too.

The Republic Polytechnic UAV Centre - to be officially launched at the poly's open house on Thursday - was developed in line with growing interest in drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), from students, the public and organisations.

The $200,000 centre houses more than 50 drones with wing spans ranging from 150mm to 1.2m.

Student at the polytechnic who stand to benefit from the centre include those pursuing diploma courses in aerospace avionics, aerospace engineering as well as interactive and digital media.

The public can also sign up for a two-day basic drone flying course for $1,380 at the centre.

Mr Muhammad Firman Jumat, 20, an interactive and digital media student, is looking forward to the centre's opening.

"You can use drones to help capture whatever you can't get using hand-held cameras and videos on the ground," he said.

Occupying 118 sq m, the centre can accommodate 50 students. It has an application lab where students can carry out simulations and image processing on computers, as well as an integration lab, similar to a workshop, where students can tinker with drone components.

Drone-flying lessons are conducted on the school's field.

Said Mr Sasidharan Nair, 39, a trainer at the centre: "One of the most important things we want our students to take away from this is safety. Flying a drone requires a lot of responsibility: A drone is not a toy."

Toh Wen Li

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2017, with the headline 'Hive for drone enthusiasts'. Print Edition | Subscribe