The Christian Science Monitor
By Laurent Belsie, Staff writer
Automation has taken away millions of American jobs. But the booming aerospace industry shows how the story about automation is nuanced.
When the University of Maine at Augusta launched its first noncredit course for commercial drone pilots in October, the seats quickly filled up. Among the 37 students are a cattle rancher, a construction company executive, a photojournalist, and several realtors.
“We are a bit of a motley crew,” says Tom Abbott, project manager for the university’s drone pilot training center, who is also taking the course. When they finish in mid-December, the students can take a test for federal certification to operate commercial drones, which are now being used in trials for everything from inspecting Maine’s potato crops to delivering 7-Eleven Slurpees in Nevada.
“We are at the very front edge of what’s going to happen,” says Mr. Abbott.