UTIAS researchers launch drone outreach program in Thunder Bay

By Amanda Hacio

This spring, a team of researchers from the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) partnered with Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School (DFC), a high school in Thunder Bay, Ont. serving Indigenous students from communities in northern Ontario. The researchers delivered a series of online and in-class workshops aimed at teaching Grade 10 science students how to build a quadrotor drone.

The initiative was spearheaded by professors Craig Steeves and Jonathan Kelly (both UTIAS) and included graduate students Rikky Duivenvoorden (EngSci 1T3 + PEY, MASc UTIAS 1T6), Chris McKinnon (EngSci 1T3, MASc UTIAS 1T5, PhD candidate), Bharat Bhaga (UTIAS PhD candidate) and Suraj Bansal (UTIAS PhD candidate). The program was made possible by support from the Dean’s Strategic Fund for the Centre for Aerial Robotics Research and Education (CARRE).

“The CARRE funding enabled us to develop a program where Indigenous high school students would get some exposure to the technology of drones—ideally, to understand what the drones can do, what they can’t do and how they are designed and constructed,” said Steeves.

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