Oklahoma State University's Drone Program Is World-Class, Instructor Says

Thursday, December 26th 2019, 8:29 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

Students and professors are excited to have a brand new building at OSU for their growing drone program. Oklahoma State University has a drone program unlike any other in the world.

The view from above can be used for a lot more applications than people may know about.

Step inside the Excelsior research lab.

"You can visualize the idea and take it from dream to reality," said Dr. Jamey Jacob, the director of the Unmanned Systems Research Institute at OSU.

The lab is their state-of-the-art building for drone making, 3D printing and much more.

"This gives students an ability to come together in a single building," Jacob said.

Jacob said the building and program is the only one of its kind in the world.

Drones of all shapes and sizes do a lot more than just capture scenic video.

Ben Loh, PhD student, knows that first-hand.

"We design some for indoor usage like search and rescue," he said.

The drones Loh works with could check for people in a destroyed home or building.

The drones have other uses, like predicting weather forecasts and monitoring lake quality when there are situations like an algae bloom.

But the latest use of drones is in partnership with Stillwater-based medical supply company Max Q.

"We can deliver blood to a remote location, where if there's a tornado or hurricane and car can't go or helicopter, you can use a drone to drop the blood in there and save a life," said Arif Rahman, the Max Q research director.

The blood can be pinpointed to a specific person's location, and the drone can drop a parachute with the blood in a moment's notice.

The Unmanned Systems Research Institute is already working with the Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, and even the U.S. Military.

It's also open to anyone who needs help with an idea of how to utilize a drone.

"This is the future basically," said Loh.