Drone News & Drone Directory

UAV Coach

LiDAR for Drones: The Groundbreaking Technology that’s Changing the Way We See the World

If you’re interested in drones you may have heard the term LiDAR thrown around quite a bit, especially in the last few years.

But what is LiDAR, and how is it being used with UAVs?

This post will dive deep into the topic, first looking at what LiDAR is, and then looking at different scenarios where LiDAR is being used with drones.

Check out the video below to get a comprehensive intro to LiDAR, and and make sure to keep reading to learn more.


What Is LiDAR?

The phrase LiDAR is sometimes considered an acronym of Light Detection And Ranging, and sometimes Light Imaging, Detection, And Ranging, but it was originally a blend of the words light and radar.

LiDAR is a land surveying method that measures the distance to a target by illuminating that target with a pulsed laser light, and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. The differences in the amount of time it takes for the laser to return, and also in the wavelengths, are then used to make digital 3D-representations of the target.

Sonar works in a similar manner, with sound waves bouncing off an object and returning to their source indicating the distance to different points, and allowing for a 3D visualization of the landscape.

An example of a LiDAR image from Velodyne’s 3D mapping system for drones

Drone LiDAR is a relatively new land surveying technique, which is based on high precision laser scanners, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and Inertial Navigation Systems (INS). These three things combined allow for incredibly accurate 3D mapping.

One of the revolutionary aspects of LiDAR—as opposed to photogrammetry, which involves synthesizing the data from a large collection of photographs—is that it allows surveyors to cut through foliage and other intervening debris to create a detailed topographical map of a landscape, without having to take the time to walk it on foot.

How Is LiDAR Being Used Today with UAVs?

Before drones, LiDAR technology could only be used from airplanes, which meant that it was expensive and not widely available.

But as drone technology becomes more and more affordable, LiDAR technology is keeping pace, which means that accurate surveying is becoming more available for everyone, and not just large, well-funded projects. Although LiDAR is still more expensive than photogrammetry (we’ll cover the differences between these two approaches to data collection for surveying in greater detail below), it is now much more accessible than it was even one or two years ago.

A drone with a LiDAR data capture system attached

When surveying, LiDAR is generally called for in scenarios where:

  • You are mapping below tree canopy, mine site conveyors, and other obstructions.
  • You are modeling narrow objects that call for greater accuracy of detail, such as transmission lines, pipes, sharp-edge features (for instance roof edges), and fields of rocks (aggregates).

Here are some scenarios where LiDAR is currently being used today—


One of the most noteworthy (and just plain cool) uses of LiDAR is in helping archaeologists discover new ruin sites, as well as helping them to better understand existing sites.

In many cases, archaeologists may not want to dig at an existing site because they don’t want to risk destroying the ruins that are currently preserved under earth and sand—LiDAR can allow them to get a view into what is there without having to dig at all.

Check out this video from the Smithsonian explaining how LiDAR was used to reveal a hidden city at Angkor Wat:


Earlier this year the Smithsonian reported on the use of LiDAR to research 430 miles of jungle in the El Mirador basin, a vast area in Central America rife with remnants of Mayan civilization that includes huge roads and networks of temples, which was first discovered with the use of LiDAR.

Without LiDAR, El Mirador may have never been uncovered, or at least not in its full totality—which is significant, because the discovery of the ruins in El Mirador indicate a level of sophistication at a much more ancient time than current archeological theories had projected for the Mayans, and subsequently has led to a general rethinking of our understanding of the entire Mayan world.


LiDAR helps farmers to find areas where costly fertilizer is being overused, as well as helping to create elevation maps of farmland that can be converted to create slope and sunlight exposure area maps.

Layer information provided via LiDAR can be used to create high, medium, and low crop production area maps, and extracted data can help farmers to save on fertilizer, and generally optimize their efforts.

Image source

Industrial Surveying and Mapping

LiDAR is used in various industrial applications to create 3D maps for:

  • Stockpile measurements
  • Mines, and measuring ore volumes for mining
  • Topographical mapping for large industrial projects and building projects
  • Tracking resources
  • Measuring roadways under traffic (i.e., while cars are driving on them)

It’s important to note that, when it comes to industrial applications, LiDAR is often used in conjunction with photogrammetry—scroll down for an in-depth comparison between the two.


LiDAR helps produce accurate maps for conservation efforts, and many U.S. states have undertaken intensive data collection efforts to better understand their natural resources, so they can better protect them.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, for example, uses LiDAR data to inform their Geographic Information System (GIS), a repository of information about all of the natural resources in the state.

Forestry is one area where LiDAR has been used to measure canopy heights, biomass measurements, and leaf area.

Image source

Water conservation is another area where LiDAR data has been used to map culverts, flood plains, watersheds, and areas of inundation and depression (i.e., where flooding and drought occur / might occur in the future).

LiDAR data, including derivatives like contour maps, digital elevation models, hillshade projections and others are assisting with a wide range of natural resource conservation applications.

University of Minnesota Water Resource Center

Dune monitoring and other related monitoring of natural resources can also be done via LiDAR, and some national parks are starting to allow investigations into the use of drones to map and model the movements of dunes.

Self-Driving Cars

One way in which LiDAR technology is currently being used that has nothing to do with UAVs or surveying, but is so cool that we thought it worth including, is in the development of self-driving cars.

LiDAR can detect yellow lines on the road, which tells the vehicle where to drive, and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses LIDAR technology, helping vehicles in cruise control to slow down when there is vehicle in the front and speed up when there is no traffic.

Check out this video to get a brief glimpse into how LiDAR is used in self-driving cars:


Photogrammetry vs LiDAR

When it comes to surveying, there has been an ongoing argument about the comparative values of photogrammetry and LiDAR, and which is best.

The truth is that there isn’t one right answer—it’s really a question of the specific application. Photogrammetry is right for some instances, while LiDAR is right for others.

Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements from photographs for recording the exact positions of surface points in order to produce a 3D map.

Photogrammetry has historically been an exhaustive, time consuming process, but drones have radically changed things, both by allowing for thousands of aerial pictures to be taken of a single site in one flight (check out this blog post on 3D mapping to learn more about the specific process), and also because new technology has been developed to help integrate all of those photos into a single 3D map.

So how do you know whether to use LiDAR or photogrammetry?

In general, the rule of thumb is that photogrammetry is good for surveying large sites that aren’t obstructed by tree cover or other impediments, while LiDAR is good for smaller, obstructed sites.

This article from SPAR3D lays out a great scenario-by-scenario way to determine which is best, which we’ve summed up below:

LiDAR should be used when:

  • You are mapping below tree canopy, mine site conveyors, and other obstructions because photogrammetry has trouble generating elevation models in areas where objects block the ground.
  • You are modeling narrow objects such as transmission lines, pipes, sharp-edge features (for instance roof edges), and fields of rocks (aggregates) because alternate mapping methods such as SfM algorithms and DIM have lower “conformance” than LiDAR.

Photogrammetry should be used when:

  • You are imaging bare earth mine sites, earth works projects, and other areas that are not occluded by trees, buildings, or equipment because drones are cheaper, lighter, and faster. If the modeling you aim to perform doesn’t require LiDAR, then strapping a camera to your UAV will save you money.
  • You are performing a small mapping project and photogrammetry data will suit your needs.

Despite all of this, the general advice is that if you’re using LiDAR, you should also use photogrammetry. The logic is that LiDAR is the more expensive of the two options, and since photogrammetry will provide additional useful data, you may as well do both.

However, new LiDAR technology may turn some of this advice on its head. After all, the cheaper and more available LiDAR for drones becomes, the more we will see adoption.

The post LiDAR for Drones: The Groundbreaking Technology that’s Changing the Way We See the World appeared first on UAV Coach.

Tanzania Partners with Zipline to Launch World’s Largest National Drone Delivery Network

Drone delivery company Zipline has been on our radar for some time now as a great example of drones doing good in the world. In case you haven’t heard of them, Zipline is a drone delivery company that focuses on medical deliveries, carrying blood and medical supplies to rural, hard-to-reach places via sUAS.

A while back we wrote about Zipline’s success in raising $25 million to provide drone deliveries for medical supplies in Rwanda, and today Zipline is making news again for their partnership with the Tanzanian government to create the world’s largest national drone delivery network.


About the Delivery Network

Today Tanzania announces the launch of the world’s largest drone delivery service to provide emergency on-demand access to critical and life-saving medicines.

Starting in the first quarter of 2018, the Tanzanian government will use drones to make up to 2,000 life-saving deliveries per day (!) to over one thousand health facilities, serving 10 million people across the country.


Here are some quick facts about Tanzania’s drone delivery network:

  • Four distribution centers
  • More than 100 drones total
  • Up to 2,000 flights a day possible
  • 10 million to be served throughout Tanzania
  • Materials to be delivered include blood transfusion supplies, vaccines, HIV medications, anti-malarials, and critical medical supplies such as sutures and IV tubes

With this launch, East Africa can now claim the title of world leader in drone deliveries. That is pretty darn cool.

Our vision is to have a healthy society with improved social well being that will contribute effectively to personal and national development. Working with Zipline will help make that vision a reality.

– Dr. Mpoki Ulisubisya, Permanent Secretary of the Tanzania Ministry of Health

The first distribution center, located in Dodoma, the country’s capital, will begin its first flights in the first quarter of 2018. Three additional distribution centers—two in the northwestern corner of Tanzania near Mwanza and Lake Victoria, and one in the Southern Highlands near Mbeya—will follow, working in close collaboration with civil and military aviation authorities.

Each of the four distribution centers will be equipped with up to 30 drones and is capable of making up to 500 on-demand delivery flights a day. The drones can carry 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) of cargo, cruising at 110 kilometers an hour (68 mph), and have a round trip range of 160 kilometers (99.4 miles).

How Does It Work?

Health workers place delivery orders by text message and receive their package within 30 minutes on average. Zipine’s drones take off and land at the distribution center only, requiring no additional infrastructure at the clinics it serves. Deliveries happen from the sky, with the drone descending close to the ground and air dropping the medicine to a designated spot near the health centers.


Watch this video of a Zipline delivery drone in action

The drones and delivery service that will be used in Tanzania are built and operated by Zipline, a California-based automated logistics company.

Here are Zipline delivery drones taking off and landing in Half Moon Bay, CA:


Take off



Using drones for just-in-time deliveries will allow us to provide health facilities with complete access to vital medical products no matter the circumstance.

– Laurean Bwanakunu, Director General of Tanzania’s Medical Stores Department

In October of 2016, Zipline and the Government of Rwanda launched the world’s first national drone delivery service to make on-demand emergency blood deliveries to transfusion clinics across the country. Since the October launch, Zipline has flown more than 100,000 km in Rwanda, delivering 2,600 units of blood over 1,400 flights.

The Problem

Throughout both the developed and developing world, access to life-saving and critical health products is hampered by what is known as the last-mile problem: the inability to deliver needed medicine from a city to rural or remote locations due to lack of adequate transportation, communication, or supply chain infrastructure.


More than two billion people cannot access the medicine they need to survive. But supply is not just a developing world problem. It’s a global issue, and the result is often that someone in need of lifesaving care does not receive the medicine they need.

Zipline’s Solution

It’s difficult to predict where a patient will be when they need medicine, and to strike a balance in rural areas between being well-stocked and being overstocked (and therefore wasteful). Zipline’s solution is to provide on-demand emergency medical deliveries, which allow for addressing emergencies in real time without the delays incurred when deliveries are made on the ground.

Countries across east Africa are leading the world in developing cutting edge solutions to the last-mile problem by pioneering on-demand drone delivery of life-saving medicine.

Millions of people across the world die each year because they can’t get the medicine they need when they need it. But it’s a problem we can help solve with on-demand drone delivery. And African nations are showing the world how it’s done.

– Keller Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline

Leading global health researchers from the Ifakara Health Institute and the University of Glasgow will evaluate the impact of Tanzania’s drone delivery service on the clinics it will serve in Dodoma. The evaluation research will be supported by the Human Development Impact Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Saving Lives at Birth, an initiative led by the US Agency for International Development.

Zipline’s commercial partnerships with Rwanda and Tanzania are expected to save thousands of lives over the next several years. Zipline is hard at work catching up to demand to expand drone delivery services to countries across the world throughout 2018.

About Zipline

Zipline is an automated logistics company based in California. The company—which includes seasoned aerospace veterans from teams like SpaceX, Google, Boeing, and NASA—designs and operates an autonomous system for delivering lifesaving medicine to the world’s most difficult to reach places.

Zipline’s long-term mission is to build instant delivery for the planet, allowing medicines and other products to be delivered on-demand and at low cost without using a drop of gasoline.

Zipline is supported by some of the smartest investors in the world, including Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, SV Angel, Subtraction Capital, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Stanford University.

The post Tanzania Partners with Zipline to Launch World’s Largest National Drone Delivery Network appeared first on UAV Coach.

The Totality by Drone: The Top 11 Drone Videos of the Solar Eclipse

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that an incredible solar eclipse was visible throughout several states in the U.S. on Monday (check out maps of the full path of the eclipse here).

People across the country came out in huge crowds to see The Totality—the moment when the sun was completely covered by the moon—with many traveling across the country to small towns, doubling and tripling local populations in places like Salem, OR or Carbondale, IL.

Image source

Of course, solar eclipses arrive periodically, with lots of advanced notice, but one thing was different about our experience of this particular eclipse.

What was it?

Drones, of course!

The last solar eclipse visible from the United States took place on May 20, 2012. And yes, drones did exist five years ago, but not in the same quantity, or with anything like the quality of video cameras available today.

This is all to say that the solar eclipse we just witnessed took place in a special time—a time when drone camera technology is widely available. Which means that we have some amazing videos of the eclipse, and these are videos that were never available before.

So without further ado, here are our top 11 videos by drone of The Totality (or the near totality, in some cases where the sun was not completely covered).

Note: For the sake of organization we’ve listed these videos from west to east, following the path the eclipse took as it made its way across the United States on Monday. Details and credits have been included, as available, for each video.

The Top 11 Drone Videos of the Solar Eclipse

1. Corvallis, OR

Details & Credits: 

  • Shot in Corvallis, OR
  • Videographer/video credit: Erin Patrick O’Connor for the Washington Post 

2. Salem, Oregon


Details & Credits:

  • Shot in Salem, Oregon
  • Videographer/video credit: Matt Baldwin (check out Matt’s YouTube channel here)

3. Idaho Falls, ID


Details & Credits: 

4. Rexburg, ID


Details & Credits: 

  • Shot in Rexburg, ID
  • Videographer/video credit: Travis Blacker (check out Travis’ YouTube channel here)

5. Casper, WY


Details & Credits: 

  • Shot in Casper, WY
  • Featured on TIME Magazine’s official YouTube channel. No specific pilot/videography credits provided

6. Wyoming Plains


Details & Credits: 

7. Clarksville, TN


Details & Credits: 

  • Shot near Dunbar Cave in Clarksville, TN
  • Videographer/video credit: Nick Summers (check out Nick’s YouTube channel here)

8. Hendersonville, TN


Details & Credits:

9. Lafayette, TN


Details & Credits: 

  • Shot in Lafayette, TN
  • Videographer/video credit: Ryan Cherry (check out Ryan’s YouTube channel here)
  • Filmed with a DJI Mavic Pro

10. Knoxville, TN

Details & Credits:

  • Shot in Knoxville, TN
  • Videographer/video credit: Harrison Hughes (follow Harrison @Harrison_Hughes)

11. Lexington, SC


Details & Credits: 

  • Shot in Lexington, SC
  • Videographer/video credit: Matt Moore
  • Filmed with a DJI Mavic Pro
  • Featured on HCPress.com

The post The Totality by Drone: The Top 11 Drone Videos of the Solar Eclipse appeared first on UAV Coach.

Exploring the Future of FPV Flying and Augmented Reality With the Epson Moverio BT-300 Smart Glasses

This is a sponsored post. All opinions and unboxing / flight experience is reported as my own, with no input from the Moverio team. If you’re interested in ordering the Moverio BT-300 FPV Edition, you can do so at this link. Make sure to use the code UAVCOACH to get $100 off the order. You’ll also get free shipping, and your glasses will come with the Rochester Optical Lens for free, a $100 value.

It’s not every day you get to play with a revolutionary piece of technology.

Pardon the length (and geeky-ness) of this post. Over the last few days, I’ve had a LOT of fun testing the Epson Moverio BT-300 smart glasses, specifically while flying my DJI Mavic Pro.

To kick things off, check out this short promo video for the glasses, you’ll get a sense of how they can be used to fly FPV while, at the same time, to maintain visual line-of-sight with your drone.


In this post, I’m going to introduce Moverio’s technology and write about my experiences flying first-person-view (FPV) with the glasses, and I’ll lay out whether or not I think they’re a good fit for you and your efforts as a drone pilot.

Epson and the History of the Moverio BT-300

You’ve likely heard of Epson before.

The juggernaut Japanese electronics company has been around since 1942. They make printers, but they also make a number of other cool electronics, including smart glasses.

Epson Moverio BT-300 Review Smart Drone Glasses

If you read as much science fiction as I do or have any interest in the future of technology, you should have no problem coming up with a few use cases for how smart glasses and augmented reality can be used:

  • Museum tours
  • Amusement parks / entertainment complexes
  • Workplace training and remote support

To give you an idea of what the smart glasses ecosystem looks like and what kind of projects the Moverio team is involved in, check out their list of featured integration partners over here.

But we’re not here to wax philosophical on advanced technology, wearables, and what kind of devices humanity will be interacting with on a daily basis one day.

We’re here to talk about drones!

How Drone Pilots Can Use the Moverio BT-300 Glasses

As a drone pilot, one of the big operational considerations is this concept of line-of-sight flight, where, either from a regulatory perspective or simply just as a best practice, the drone pilot should be able to see the drone while flying it at all times.

Now, I shouldn’t let this post turn into a discussion of BVLOS (flying beyond visual line-of-sight) and where the drone industry is heading with all of that, but one thing to think about while flying drones now is that in order to see your first-person-view (FPV) screen, whether or not you’re using your phone, tablet, or a built-in screen, you have to take your eyes off the drone and look down at your hands.

dad learning to fly dji mavic pro drone

Take a look at my dad, who I’ve been teaching how to fly my DJI Mavic Pro.

He has a hard time toggling back and forth between watching the drone and seeing the iPad screen just below the two joysticks. He may be smiling in this picture, but my guess is that he’s a little stressed as well. His eyes are glued directly to the Mavic Pro so as not to lose focus. Something many of you can likely relate to.

That’s where the Moverio BT-300 augmented reality glasses come into play.

Put on the glasses, connect them to your DJI drone, and then the Moverio’s transparent display allows you to see key flight statistics, while still maintaining a visual line-of-sight with the aircraft.

moverio bt-300 drone smart glasses fpv review

Pretty nifty, right?

Moverio BT-300: Key Product Specs

Here are a few of the product specifications I wanted to call your attention to:

  • Maintain a clear line of sight — transparent display allows drone pilots to see key flight statistics, while still maintaining visual line of sight with the aircraft
  • Premier FPV DJI partner — controller comes preloaded with DJI’s popular DJI GO App
  • Easily record your drone in flight — front-facing camera captures real-time 1080p footage (at 30 fps) of your drone in flight, from the pilot’s point of view
  • Light, comfortable fit — world’s lightest Si-OLED-powered, binocular, transparent smart glasses1, only 2.5 oz/69 g; easy to wear, even for extended periods of time
  • Good visibility in bright sunlight — includes an extra-dark shade so there’s no need for a hood; maintain visual line of sight with your drone, even in sunny environments
  • Custom clips to hold the controller in place — securely holds the BT-300FPV controller to the DJI remote (works with Phantom™ 3, 4 and Inspire™ 1 remotes; can purchase a Mavic clip separately)
  • Android-based system — easily browse the Web, play games and stream content (does not support the Google Play™ store or other Google® Mobile Services)
  • Prescription glasses-friendly — fits over a wide range of prescription eyewear
  • Portable — rechargeable battery (in controller) offers up to six hours of battery life2; built-in card slot supports removable microSDHC cards up to 32GB
  • Future-ready — motion sensors, front-facing high-resolution camera and the ability to render 3D content will enable developers to build next-generation flight experiences

Moverio BT-300: Unboxing & Initial Thoughts / Review

OK, enough of the fluff. What’s it like to actually fly with these?

Setting up the glasses

It took me about 5-10 minutes to read through the instructions, then another 20-25 minutes to put the glasses on, get acquainted with the menu and settings, and then to install the latest firmware, to refresh the app store, and to download the DJI Go 4 app onto the glasses.

Connecting to the DJI Mavic Pro

You have to connect the Moverio glasses directly to the transmitter via an included USB cable, but other than that, you turn on your transmitter and then your aircraft just as you normally would, then you open up the DJI Go 4 App from within the glasses to get started.

Taking Off & Testing

Most of the functions that are available on the DJI Go 4 app that’s accessible in the Google Play or Apple store are also available on the Moverio glasses. It certainly looked and felt the same.

testing moverio bt-300 smart drone glasses

My wife used the smart glasses to help me frame the shot of our family.

I only had two issues while flying that I’d like to call out:

  • Focusing. That’s a DJI Mavic-specific issue though, when it comes to tapping to focus. Wearing glasses, I wasn’t able to tap while flying so had a hard time keeping things in focus. Some improvements need to be made around that, just not sure if that’s on the Moverio side, on the DJI side, or maybe I was just missing something.
  • The second issue is with the controller part of the glasses, which need to be held while flying. Holding it isn’t practical, but mounting them to the transmitter sure is. Unfortunately, there’s not an easy way to do this on the Mavic like there is the Phantom or Inspire series, but apparently there’s an extra Mavic mounting accessory that takes care of that. I haven’t picked that up yet.

I was wearing the included Rochester Optical Lenses as well, which made it a LOT easier to see the screen through the glasses and something I’d highly recommend you use while flying.

Powering Down / Storing / Traveling

The glasses and accessories fit pretty well in a small carrying case. The battery life on the glasses is really long, something like 5-6 hours, enough to last a handful of DJI battery cycles 🙂

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, I’m not well-versed in AR / smart glasses technology, so I don’t have a good means of comparison when it comes to stacking the Moverio BT-300 glasses up to other options. But here were a few of my key takeaways while testing over the last couple of weeks:

They were much lighter than I expected and really comfortable, the kind of glasses I wouldn’t mind wearing for an extended period of time. I’m under the impression that other glasses models with similar technology are a lot heavier.

They were also much easier to set up than I had anticipated. I’ve tested enough consumer electronics to have reasonable expectations when it comes to setup time. Frankly, I was planning on having to work with their support team when I first opened the box. I thought it would have been more difficult to get up and running.

It took some time to get used to the viewing screen. Just like wearing a new pair of glasses, things are a little blurry at first, and you might get some slight dizziness while operating, so its best to wear them as much as possible in a non-flight environment before taking to the skies.

It’s not the same experience as flying with FPV goggles, like the FatShark or DJI Goggle models you may have seen or already flown with. You have to play around with the glasses a bit to get the right lighting, and being able to maintain situational awareness AND fly first-person-view at the same time is really nice, but toggling back and forth with your eyes takes a bit of time to get used to. Personally, I’ve never felt completely at ease with full-on goggles and much prefer glasses like these.

Oh, and my mom and dad really enjoyed playing with them 🙂

If you’re interested in ordering the Moverio BT-300 FPV Edition, you can do so at this link. Make sure to use the code UAVCOACH to get $100 off the order. You’ll also get free shipping, and your glasses will come with the Rochester Optical Lens for free, a $100 value.

The post Exploring the Future of FPV Flying and Augmented Reality With the Epson Moverio BT-300 Smart Glasses appeared first on UAV Coach.

Announcing the High School STEM Scholarship for Aspiring Commercial Drone Pilots

We’re excited to announce our High School STEM Scholarship for Aspiring Commercial Drone Pilots.

The scholarship will provide free, unlimited access to qualifying high school students to Drone Pilot Ground School, our online test prep course to help drone pilots the FAA Part 107 exam.


About the Scholarship

The goal of the scholarship is to support high school students interested in pursuing a career in the drone industry by helping them prepare for the FAA’s Part 107 test.

An additional goal is to help further the use of drones in STEM education.

Read on to get all the details on the scholarship, and to learn more about Drone Pilot Ground School.

How Many Students Can Apply?

There are an unlimited number of scholarships available.

What Is the Deadline?

There is no deadline—applicants will be accepted on a rolling, case-by-case basis.

Who’s Eligible?

Eligible students must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be currently enrolled in high school
  • Live in the U.S.

What Does the Application Look Like?

The application has three parts:

1. Applicant Details

Pretty self-explanatory! This is just a short form with student information (name, contact information, school, and so on).

2. School Sponsor Letter

Students must secure a letter of support from an educator in their school that explains why the student is a good candidate for this specific scholarship. This could be a teacher, robotics or engineering club leader, an administrator, etc.

Please use the .edu / school email address of your school sponsor when submitting your application.

3. Questions for Applicant

Students must answer the three questions listed below. Each answer must be 250-500 words.

  • Tell us your drone story. How did you first learn about drones? What captivates you about small unmanned aerial systems?
  • Tell us about your involvement in drones to date. What models have you flown? What would you like to fly? Are you a member of any school clubs, classes, or organizations that have helped to push your interest forward?
  • How do you plan to use your FAA Remote Pilot Certificate? What are your professional aspirations in the drone industry?

If you or someone you know wants to start an application, it’s important to note that you cannot save your work as you go. We strongly recommend working in a separate document to create your answers to the questions, and then pasting them into the form when you’re ready to apply.

How Will We Pick Scholarship Recipients?

Applications are reviewed on a rolling, case-by-case basis. After submitting your application you can expect to hear back from us within 1-2 weeks.

Successful applicants will demonstrate serious intent to study for and pass the FAA Part 107 exam by providing thorough, thoughtful answers to the three questions asked, as well as securing a strong letter of recommendation. Answers that only contain a few sentences and appear hastily written / have spelling and grammar errors will likely not result in a successful outcome.

If you have any questions, send us an email at support[at]dronepilotgroundschool[dot]com.

About Drone Pilot Ground School

Drone Pilot Ground School is UAV Coach’s flagship remote course. The course was designed to help drone pilots prepare for the FAA’s Part 107 Aeronautical Knowledge Test (also known as the Part 107 test) to gain an FAA Remote Pilot Certificate.


We’ve trained over 6,000 commercial drone pilots, and over 99% of our students pass the Part 107 test on their first try.

This video provides a good overview:


The Drone Pilot Ground School course includes:

  • 30+ Video/Text Lectures. Our curriculum was built in partnership with a Gold Seal Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and former Chief Pilot of a Part 141 Flight School to align directly with the FAA’s remote pilot certification requirements.
  • 5 Practice Tests & Support. We carefully selected the materials provided—lecture quizzes, a detailed study guide, and 5 practice tests—to ensure that you will be prepared to take the Part 107 Aeronautical Knowledge Test at an FAA-licensed testing center.
  • Flight Proficiency Training. While flight proficiency isn’t required by the FAA, we hold our students to a higher standard. You’ll receive a Drone Pilot Ground School diploma when you pass our flight proficiency challenge.
  • 5 Years of Access. To keep your license, you’ll need to pass a recurrent FAA knowledge test every 24 months. Students get unlimited access to our online training course for 5 years (enough time for two re-certifications).
  • Real FAA Test Questions. Master the FAA’s test concepts with our database of 300+ multiple choice questions. After completing a practice test, you’ll be emailed a category performance report and a breakdown of your incorrect responses.

Through our new scholarship, all of these materials will be provided to qualifying high school students to help them prepare for the Part 107 test.

Check out our full Drone Pilot Ground School curriculum to learn more about how we help drone pilots become FAA certified to fly commercially in the U.S.

Drones in STEM Education

More and more, drones are being used to help students learn—and get excited about—STEM subjects in middle, high, and even elementary school (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

Jobs in STEM fields are growing like crazy, and helping students learn these subjects also means helping them prepare for their futures.

Over the last few years, after school drone clubs and drone-related classes have been popping up in classrooms all over the U.S.

As one example, the Taft Drone Club at the Taft High School in Cincinnati, Ohio recently received a grant of $100,000 from the Ohio State Department of Education to continue their STEM studies with drones.

Members of the Taft Drone Club

Right in line with the growth of jobs in STEM fields, drone jobs are also popping up all over the place. Aerial cinematography, inspections, 3D mapping—the list goes on and on, and these are all potential careers for high school students.

Which is to say that the job prospects for a student who obtains his or her FAA certification as a commercial drone pilot are many and diverse, and compatible with a number of different personal interests, be they artistic or technical.


Spreading Wings S900 drones

Looking for more resources to help you get started using drones in the classroom?

Make sure to check out this Edutopia article with seven ideas to help you get started, and also look into DroneBlocks, which provides a full curriculum for using drones in STEM education.

The post Announcing the High School STEM Scholarship for Aspiring Commercial Drone Pilots appeared first on UAV Coach.

Page 20 of 106« First...10...1819202122...304050...Last »