The first academy to issue drone operation certificates in Vietnam has just been launched at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City.
Corresponding with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ngo Khanh Hieu, head of VNU-HCM Key Lab for Internal Combustion Engines, refered to the Drone Academy as the yield of the collaboration between his lab and AgriDrone Viet Nam, a drone company.
According to Hieu, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as ‘drones,’ has been thoroughly propagated among civilian affairs in Vietnam over the past few years.
Whilst international drone technology is advancing at a tremendous rate, public awareness of drones remains subpar on both counts: Vietnamese law and regulations on drone usage, as well as operators’ adherence to drone operation guidelines.
“During a relatively short period of time, drone technology has achieved immense progress, which in turn engendered a surge in demand for drone operators," Hieu said.
"It was out of this market’s call that the Drone Academy was founded [on September 19]."
In order to catch up with the emerging demand for drones, an aspiring pilot has to be equipped with foundation knowledge as well as accustoming themselves to specific applications of the device.
Flying cameras, which are photographic devices where a camera is mounted to a drone to attain aerial shots, is one of the most popular drone applications at the moment.
Other uses of the aerial vehicle include pesticide spraying in agriculture, wind energy, solar energy, remote sensing, and emergency rescue.
The Drone Academy will launch its training courses on civilian uses of UAV, providing high-quality batches of personnel on drone solutions for the Vietnamese market.
Anyone “high school age or above” is eligible to apply for the course, the foundational iteration of which will last one month, Hieu announced.
Tuition will range between VND4-7 million ($172-301), with financial aid available for high school and university students.
Despite its apparent benefits on daily life and business use, drones have also raised public questions on their utility in illegitimate operations, including intrusion of privacy and risks of national intelligence breach.
In response, the Ministry of National Defense, along with other relevant government agencies, have attempted measures to tighten regulations on drone use in Vietnam, which includes a license system for drone operations.
Regarding questions on the legal effect of the certificate issued by his academy, Hieu claimed that its training and assessment protocols adhere to the curriculum of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Training Center (UTC) under the world's leading drone manufacturer DJI, which in turn abides by Vietnam’s regulations on drone operations for civilian purposes.
The certificate is issued based on the legal framework of the global standards that the UTC has imposed upon the domestic firm AgriDrone Viet Nam.
“For this reason, the certificate issued by the academy has no legal effect on the issuance of licenses for drone operations. This point will be stipulated to all students through the course regulation,” Hieu explained.
A breakthrough as it is, the drone course is not the only idea in the academy's itinerary: it also mulls other programs, one of which is the introduction of the latest drone technology breakthrough to solve Vietnam’s most distressing issues.
Taking advantage of its linkage with, the academy is planning to bring drone applications cross-sector, cooperating with university experts to fully realize the potential of UAV technology.