Monday, 24 October 2016

UoB Drone Society

The use of drones within civilian society has been on the increase over the years. Galen Reich has followed suit and set up the UoB Drone Society. I met up with him and George Atkinson (UoB Drone Society treasurer) to find out about this enterprising idea.



Galen had always wanted to work with drones. What a better way than to turn this fascination into a society? Galen started calling out to interested students and set up the UoB Drone committee, which consists of PhD electrical engineering students. After having been recognised as a Guild society, it now has sufficient funding in order to finance their enterprising activities. 



‘Setting up the society was like starting a campfire – it was done bit by bit’
The Drone Society Committee


The society meets up weekly and have, so far, built 2 small drones. The society activities are broken down into 3 broad categories: building, programming and flying. However, they will soon be working on a 3rd drone, which will be double the diameter and more flexible. So, it can be customised (e.g. a camera can be attached to it). The drones are currently being flown in a controlled environment. However, once the society has received permission, they hope to fly them on campus and, for example, take aerial photographs of Old Joe.

The Blade250 
The society members consist of students across all colleges, not just EPS. So, the UoB Drone Committee members teach them how to build the drones. This means that other students are also given the opportunity to learn advanced skills. At the moment, everybody works together on a single drone. However, Galen hopes to make this a more ‘hands-on’ enterprising project for students by encouraging them to work in smaller teams to create their own unique drones, with the guidance of the experienced committee members. This will increase their independence and project management skills.

‘We want our members to come up with ideas we’ve never even come up with’

The View450 - planned
Galen believes his role as president of the society will ‘almost certainly’ help him in his career. Having to juggle the various tasks involved (e.g. buying drone components, juggling legal requirements and attending meetings) has improved his project management and interpersonal skills. George believes that, from having worked with people from a variety of backgrounds, his communications skills have improved. He can even envisage himself working in this field when he graduates because this is how many scientific collaborations, such as SpaceX, are carried out.

For more information, check out the UoB Drone Society's website. 

Pavinder Bhangu
- PR Team





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