Lake Region State College in Devils Lake is getting into the unmanned aircraft systems industry.
The college plans to offer training for law enforcement officials and farmers in the use of UAS, and it’s partnering with UND, home to the Center for UAS Research, Education and Training.
UND President Robert Kelley and Lake Region President Doug Darling will sign an agreement Friday in Grand Forks. The college will become affiliated with the UAS Center as a result.
Lake Region hopes to take advantage of its peace officer training program, which has graduated more than 1,200 students since 1987, and its Dakota Precision Ag Center.
Policing and farming are civilian uses for unmanned aircraft that the industry considers promising. Small remotely piloted planes are already popular with police, but the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International said in March that it expects precision agriculture to be the largest market for unmanned aircraft.
The aircraft can be used to monitor crops and spray pesticide where needed.
Lake Region is also located near the National Guard’s Camp Grafton, where restricted airspace is available for unmanned aircraft flight, and near a proposed area where manned and unmanned aircraft could share airspace.
UND, with its established UAS program, has certificates to operate unmanned aircraft, including its Crop Cam in several places in Grand Forks, Walsh and Marshall counties.