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Drones and Autonomous Systems I: Fundamentals

Learn the essentials you need in order to use cutting edge drone technology.

Enrollment closed
Future dates to be announced
Estimated 6 weeks
2–3 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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Are you interested in learning about drones, be it casual or in-depth? You can use this course to gain insight into the basic elements of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) drone systems used in civilian missions and into Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

This course introduces unmanned aerial systems (UAS) including drones and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with sensors including those for obstacle avoidance, other instruments, and payloads that rely on complex algorithms and have various uses.

No previous knowledge of drones, flying systems, autonomous technology, or flying experience is required. Join us as you start your drone journey.

Taught by instructors with decades of experience in drone technology applications in combat and civilian operations, systems design, and emergency management planning, this course will equip analysts and operational experts with the technical and planning knowledge for emergency planning and other applications.

At a glance

  • Institutions: UMGCUSMx
  • Subject: Science
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:


What you'll learn

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DRO1.1x Fundamentals of Drones and Autonomous Systems:

  • Classification of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with a focus on technology infusion (sensors, platforms, navigation, power source, command and control, range, altitude, speed, wide area surveillance)
  • Classification of drones according to use such as aerial photography, real estate sales, recreation, public events, law enforcement surveillance, border enforcement, and maritime drug interdiction.
  • Examination of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and commercial research and development ( R&D) technologies.
  • A systems view of drones and the types of hardware and software used for data collection, storage, and analytical requirements.
  • Systems life cycle with needs assessment, goals/ objectives, requirements, testing and training, data analytics, and mission compliance.
  • Federal government airspace policy, regulations, and compliance including beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone operations, a comparison of U.S. and international regulations.
  • Risk factors, the ethical use of drones, and counter-UAS technologies including cyber and physical threats to UAS.
  • Emerging technologies being integrated into the drone market including semi-autonomous and autonomous systems that will enable communications relay, crop sensing and coordinated swarms in support of emergency response mission.
  • Future capabilities and uses of UAS, including critical technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the internet of things (IoT,) data analytics and fifth generation (5G) mobile telephone service.

DRO1.1x Fundamentals of Drones and Autonomous Systems

Week 1: History and Introduction

Week 2: Critical Technologies and Requirements

Week 3: Technical Performance

Week 4: Making a Business Case

Week 5: Regulatory Framework (including Risk, Safety, Security, Policy)

Week 6: Future of Drone Systems

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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