UAE university to launch drones training course amid crackdown

American University of Sharjah announces plan as Dubai issues new fines in bid to stop unauthorised operators

A training course for drone operators will be offered at American University of Sharjah (AUS) later this year as the UAE clamps down on their illegal use with the threat of increased fines.

In conjunction with Exponent Technology Services (ETS), AUS will offer a 45-hour course customised by ETS professional pilots and engineers allowing participants to become certified drone operators, a statement said.

As per the agreement, ETS will create and structure a joint Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) technologies training program that will be conducted at AUS by ETS staff when the course launches in the autumn.

The agreement also seeks to enhance research activities related to drone applications where students will be working on projects under the supervision of AUS faculty and ETS engineers.

The course comes after it was announced that fines of up to AED20,000 will be handed to anyone using non-registered drones in Dubai.

According to a new resolution by Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, fines of between AED2,000-20,000 will be issued for using non registered drones for commercial activities.

The increasing use of drones for commercial and leisure purposes globally has led to a rise in the number of near-misses with aircraft and infringements into no-fly zones, spurring calls for their use to be better regulated.

Operations at Dubai's main airport, the world's busiest for international passengers, were halted for an hour on October 29, delaying 40 flights.

It was the third time they had been temporarily stopped in four months because of drones.

“We are pleased to have signed this agreement with ETS,” said Dr Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor of AUS. “This collaboration with ETS, wherein our faculty and students get to work on the various aspects of drone activities and research, is reflective of our university’s commitment towards innovative technology, research and training."

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