New drone facility takes flight at University of Maryland

New drone facility takes flight at University of Maryland (Cheryl Conner/ABC7)

There’s a buzz over College Park. The A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland now has an outdoor test site for drones.

It’s made of netting, so it allows for the unmanned aircraft to be tested in weather conditions.

What’s known as the Fearless Flight Facility now complies with FAA regulations since campus is close to D.C.

A low-flying drone on display could help in the search and recovery effort we’ve seen following the recent hurricanes.

“We can actually fly to the area, land on top of the water, and navigate on the water searching for the person,” said Elena Shrestha, aerospace engineering doctorate student.

The dean of the School of Engineering, Dr. Darryll Pines, says his students are working on technology to assist in taking down crime.

“Someone wants to fly a drone into your prison and drop contraband to an inmate, maybe even a weapon, maybe just drugs. Whatever it is we want to be able to detect that and prevent that from happening,” said Pines.

Senior Josh Gaus is racing the drone he built. He’s an engineering student, but he says the hobby can turn anyone into MacGyver.

“Basic electronics work, basic coding work, how to fix something that’s broken, right,” said Gaus.

The students are no longer stuck in a lab. They are taking flight for the future of drones.

Pretty soon, the community will be welcomed in to the Fearless Flight Facility.

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