Teaching kids to use drones for employment of the future
The drone sector is expected to become a burgeoning employment pathway for future generations.
Experts believe that one of the keys to the Australian drone industry growing, innovating and becoming a world leader is to get kids at both primary and high school level more interested in the fun of STEM and to understand how drones can impact the world at a societal level.
Currently, the economic impact of drones contributes an estimated $5.5 billion to the Australian economy, which will rise to $14.5 billion by 2040, according to a government study published by Deloitte.
“There’s a huge potential for Australia’s drone industry because in many ways we are already leading in drone regulation and usage,” said Australian drone expert Dr Catherine Ball from Australian National University.
“Australia is the only place in the world where you can get a licence to operate a commercial drone delivery service. Everywhere else, you have to get an exemption from the regulations, and generally you are restricted to trials on military bases.
“We need to attract more kids to STEM pathways once they leave school. They need to see how enjoyable and rewarding it can be working in the industry. Medicine will always be popular for bright minds, but at ANU the existing engineering degree has been losing students. I’m now part of a new project there called Reimagine where we humanise the subject more in order to broaden its appeal.”
Several drone companies now offer high-school-level drone classes, and kids-learn-to-code company Code Camp recently introduced Drone Camp for those aged 9–13. At the in-person three-day summer holiday camps held at schools, kids will learn how to fly and code a drone. Developed by drone enthusiasts, the hands-on technology program is powered by US-based Drone Legends.
“Drones are here to stay — and there are a number of compelling reasons to teach kids how to use them,” said Code Camp co-founder Hayley Markham.
“Safety is essential, but we see when a kid launches their first drone, there’s a real mix of excitement, confidence and wonder in the air. When they code their flight path and see their drone take to the sky, it teaches them teamwork, problem solving, dexterity and also builds their confidence for solo missions.”
Markham’s co-founder, Ben Levi, said that drones are integral to the future of technology.
“The scope of using drones within our daily lives is growing exponentially, with more and more people getting into the drone industry and achieving incredible things. We really want all kids to develop an early love of tech so the brightest minds continue on in the industry when they’re older,” he said.
Already drones are being used throughout Australia and the world in a number of projects. Dr Ball, who runs the annual World Congress of Drones and Robots, predicts the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane will be the most environmentally friendly and automated Olympics we have ever had.
“Drones will be involved in everything at the Olympics from transport networks to how food will be delivered in stands. There will also be AI involved in ticketing and public health measures.”
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