Vaughn College hosted its second annual International Drone Day event on May 6, where members of the College’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) club welcomed the public and shared their excitement and knowledge of unmanned aerial vehicles. It was a hands-on, high flying experience.
About International Drone Day
International Drone Day is a worldwide event where over 150 cities simultaneously celebrate drones and their uses. This global experience is a collaborative effort that was started three years ago to educate the public, media and local governments about the incredible ways drones are used for good in our society, such as in search and rescue, conservation, agriculture, sport, and film.
“We are excited to be hosting International Drone Day at Vaughn,” said Peter Kalaitzidis ’21, a member of the College’s UAV club and mechanical engineering technology student at Vaughn. “It’s an incredible opportunity for us to show off the many capabilities UAVs have to offer and enlighten enthusiasts and the younger generation on how to build and fly them.”
Drone technology takes off
Once thought of as an object only seen in sci-fi movies, UAV technology is on the fast track to becoming one of today’s hottest aviation trends. “Radio controlled technology has been around for years,” said Kalaitzidis, “but now it can be used for so much more than recreational use or photography. Today’s researchers are working toward developing UAV technology to help humanity. We’re already seeing applications in the medical field using UAVs as delivery systems for medical supplies, such as insulin and defibrillators.”
Unveiling of first passenger drone
A Chinese company may have changed the course of drone technology by taking the “unmanned” part out of UAV. Guangzhou-based EHang Inc. unveiled the world’s first drone capable of carrying a human passenger at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The EHang 184 is an electric-powered drone that can carry one person (weighing up to 220 pounds), and it can fly for 23 minutes at sea level. It is designed to fly from 1,000 to 1,650 feet off the ground, reach a maximum altitude of 11,500 feet, and fly at a top speed of 63 mph. The cabin has enough room to fit a small backpack and is equipped with air conditioning and a reading light. With its propellers folded, the EHang 184 can fit in a single parking spot. “The technology is growing at an exponential rate,” Kalaitzidis said. “The future may be here before we know it. This amazing technology of the EHang 184 has the possibility of eliminating traffic on the ground, as people will be able to use private drones instead of helicopters to get from one place to another.”
As a highly decorated retired staff sergeant of the United States Air Force, Kalaitzidis is an expert in his field. “Going back to school after my military career was the best decision to move my career forward,” Kalaitzidis stated. As a client liaison at DJI, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, he said it was important to have his bachelor’s degree to climb to the next level. “I want to be a part of the excitement to design the next generation of UAVs,” said Kalaitzidis. “Vaughn gives us all the tools we need to apply our knowledge. International Drone Day is just another way I can share my passion and experience with young aviation enthusiasts to help fuel their dreams.”