BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) – Virginia Tech’s Drone Park officially opened last April and the facility has proven to be a great resource for people both inside and outside the university. With major companies like Amazon and Google looking into drone research for future uses like packaging and delivery, drones are predicted to be important in reshaping a variety of industries.
“Drones right now are being integrated into as many things as you can imagine, really. So they’re used a lot in agriculture, even just for mapping all the way to looking at plant health and actually applying fertilizer and everything,” says Sarah Macey, the drone park operations and training manager at Virginia Tech.
In just the first year, university officials have seen more than 2,000 people use the park and have totaled almost 700 hours of scheduled use. During the school year, the facility has proven to be a great resource. The park is booked every week by students and professors for drone research, recreations, and to learn more about the new technology.
The Drone Park is also being used by people and organizations non-associated with Virginia Tech. The facility has already partnered with Mid-Atlantic Aviation to explore the future use of drones in the national airspace. The park is also used to host trainings for first-responders and police officers.
Virginia Tech’s nationally-ranked drone racing team often visits the 85-foot tall flight cage for practices and are even looking to host some drone racing competitions in the future.
University officials say they are excited to what the park has in store for its upcoming years.
“Another big thing that we’re looking into is, like I said, getting more of the public interested out here and looking at the drone racing team and being able to use this as a resource not just for Virginia Tech, but also the local community,” says Macey.