$35,000 worth of drones donated to UT Martin
MARTIN, Tenn. (KFVS) - Corteva Agriscience, of Union City, donated 35 retired drones, valued at approximately $35,000, to the University of Tennessee at Martin.
The drones will be used in three new courses premiering in the fall of 2021 that will teach students the fundamentals of unmanned aerial systems and its emerging importance in the field of agriculture and natural resources management.
Dr. Philip Smartt, professor of natural resources management and certified unmanned aerial systems pilot, will instruct the new courses and is excited to teach students how to utilize the drones in a protected, hands-on environment.
Smartt will teach students the fundamentals and operations of flying drones, how to maintain and repair the equipment, as well as prepare them for the FAA pilot certification exam.
“This is a real significant gift to be able to have drones we can utilize,” said Smartt. “We are really as a society just starting to use this technology. There are a lot of opportunities in ag and natural resources, and especially in the field of agriculture; the opportunities are incredible. I think there is going to be a lot of demand for (drone technology) in the future.”
Smartt fully expects drones and unmanned aerial systems to become important aspects of agriculture to benefit the environment and economy.
Of their many uses, the drones will primarily be used on the UT Martin Agriculture, Geosciences, and Natural Resources Teaching Complex to take photos of the fields in order to analyze and improve crop production.
The fleet of drones is comprised of fully functional drones, as well as inoperable units that can be used for spare parts to repair the working drones.
The donation was spearheaded by Corteva Agriscience employee and UT Martin alumnus Harlin Wilkin who graduated from the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences in 2011.
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