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The Corporation

Posted: 20/06/17

Flying high with drone technology

Flying at speeds of 150mph, IT students from West Nottinghamshire College had a day with a difference as they visited Nottingham’s latest adrenalin-fuelled attraction.

  • Computer science students outside UK Drone Store Ltd
  • David Brockhouse tries the virtual flight simulator
  • Racing at highspeed with the aid of FPV goggles
  • Students navigating the hoops and obstacles on the drone race circuit

Software development and networking and systems support students visited UK Drone Store Ltd, an indoor first person view (FPV) drone racing arena, on 9 June.

It was there they got to experience virtual drone flying on a SIM station. And with the aid of FPV goggles they could tune into a high-speed racing drone flown by a pro-pilot at speeds of almost 150mph.

The group of 35, who are studying at the college’s Derby Road campus, also got to try micro drone flying in the race arena whose quarter-kilometer layout is reconfigured every month to keep pilots on their toes.

Student David Brockhouse, 29, said: “Flying small drones around a virtual playground attempting to navigate through small rings gave us some basic experience of the controls before moving onto larger real-life drones.

“With the larger ones we were tasked with precision flying and flew a real drone through a suspended hoop which was very different from the virtual environment as in real life the drone almost seems alive, responding to the slightest touch of the controls. Many of us spent our time with our drone upside down, waiting for one of the staff to help us!

“The staff at the centre were great, really friendly and show an obvious passion for what they do. I would recommend anyone who has any interest in flying drones to get in touch with them.”

Computer science curriculum manager Trudi Dean, said: “Computer science is an ever-developing subject area. We’re always encouraging students to stay at the forefront of technology, scanning the horizon for the next big thing.

“This unique business in Nottingham is testament to the county’s commitment to being a hub for new technology and I hope this trip encouraged our students to realise the skills they learn at college can help them towards employment opportunities.”

Following the drone flying experience, the students visited Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema to see a private screening of the Steve Jobs movie, featuring Kate Winslet.