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Okay, fine, I admit that this headline is a bit exaggerated. But this is the internet, websites do it all the time. I could’ve just flat out lied to all of you and gone with the some traffic slutting headline like, “Kate Upton Does Naked Harlem Shake With Litter Of Kittens.” Of course if I did that the internet would implode and there would be a vast, furious, pitchfork wielding, blue-balled mob at my door, looking to take out some intense and layered frustrations on me.
So no, technically the Unmanned Aircraft Systems major now being offered at several schools such as Kansas State Salina, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the University of North Dakota (the pioneer in this new major) is not specifically designed to train America’s young adults to rain death upon the enemies of freedom from the comfort of a couch littered with Doritos and empty Mountain Dew Code Red bottles. If you want to be able to fly professionally and masturbate at the same time then you’ll have to become an airline pilot like everybody else.
However, just because the Unmanned Aircraft Systems major doesn’t solely focus on piloting military drone aircraft doesn’t mean these U.A.S. majors couldn’t go on to a successful career in a terrorist extermination related field if they so choose. The degree and real world experience is obviously applicable. Unfortunately it is far more likely they’ll be doing something boring, like monitoring highway traffic.
Equipped with cameras and other sensors, drones of the future will report back on traffic, survey land, inspect pipelines and transmission lines, conduct border surveillance and other law enforcement work, assess damage after storms and earthquakes, and even spot fish.
EVEN spot fish!?!?! WOW! Sign me up! The only way spotting fish with drone aircraft would be cool is if you then were allowed to actually fish with the drone. It’d the 21st Century equivalent of fishing with dynamite, except a thousand times more fucking awesome. You could even feed the hungry. No longer would hilariously unrealistic Beasts of the Southern Wild type bayou dwellers have to fish with their bare hands to feed their starving families. You could just fly your drone over their swamp, lay down some ordinance, and presto! A couple hundred dead fish float to the surface. Give a man fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for life. Send in a robot to kill a bunch of fish for that man, and he eats for awhile and waits for the robot to come back. Welcome to the 21st Century!
Border surveillance could also be fun, if only to hear terrified immigrants shout, “Estar alerta! El demonio de metal vacío!”*
*Pretty sure Google Translate butchered that, but oh well.
While there are plenty of uses for drone aircraft, thus making a U.A.S. degree incredibly versatile in terms of which industries one could work in or with, the majority of drone use at present is still done by the U.S. military and the CIA.
Today, the biggest use of drones is by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency, which operate hundreds of them around the world. Only military personnel pilot armed drones. But government contractors do much of the scouting in advance, conducting surveillance missions over countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Mr. Taylor, who graduated in August, has been offered a job by a private contractor and is waiting for his security clearance.
Unfortunately my fantasy of America’s military muscle being flexed by a guy like this…
…isn’t realistic. Too bad, I bet video game addicted trolls could pilot the shit out of a drone. I mean, hell, play with a basic flight simulator for a few months and you’re qualified to crash a plane into a building.
So with tons of job opportunities, potential high paying jobs awaiting, and the possibility of secretly offing America’s enemies to varying degrees of legality, are there any downsides to this major? Well, just one, you don’t actually need it if you want to fly a drone.
Majoring in the field is certainly not required but it’s a competitive advantage.
Expect to be immersed in complex science, technology and engineering. “The components of that degree span so many disciplines,” said Daryl S. Davidson, the executive director of the Auvsi Foundation, an arm of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. “It’s not just aerospace engineering, it’s not just mechanical engineering. It’s electrical engineering, mechatronics, sensor and human factors.”
So essentially if you want to fly a drone, they (whoever they may be) would like you to be a hell of an engineer. If you’re an experienced pilot, even better. The thing is, drone piloting is still so specialized that whoever is hiring you to fly the drone will probably train you like crazy in house, whether it be the military or otherwise. So unless you really want to fly a drone, you might still be better off majoring in some form of engineering and playing a lot of flight simulators, just to keep your options open. I assume StarFox 64 is fine.
Regardless of the real world applications of this major, I still choose to dream it consists of courses instructing students on how to make it Freedom Hail* on evil doers from a control room far, far away. Why not? It’s not any different than imagining a film major spending his college days shooting cool movies and graduating to become a famous director, when in actuality they’ll be forced to suffer through (and if they’re a huge tool, act interested in) non-sensical independent films with more noises than dialog, graduating to become…unemployed. So fuck it, the U.A.S. major teaches you how to kill terrorists with robots, sounds awesome.
*Freedom Hail is what I call “bullets you shoot at terrorists.”
[via The New York Times]