Forget checking out books at the University of South Florida, now students can rent drones from the school’s library.
Beginning this fall, students at USF can check out drones to conduct research projects, according to CNN. The university recently spent leftover grant money on two drones that are capable of taking aerial video and photography.
There will be a few cautionary steps, however, that will help prevent just any rowdy college kid from getting their hands on a drone. In addition to enrolling in a drone training course, the student must prove the drone will be used for research purposes — for the school’s digital media courses, especially — as well as be ready to fork over $1,500 if there is any damage to the machine, and have a faculty member present while operating the equipment. (RELATED: College Student Mistakenly Gets $350,000 Drone In The Mail)
“We have a global sustainability program, and they are mapping out the campus to see energy usage, so they can use the drones to help map out the campus,” Dean of USF Libraries Bill Garrison told CNN. “There are a lot of opportunities for research and learning by using drones. And the faculty can use it, too.”
As many precautionary measures as the university might take, it is likely the program will still be shut down. According to Forbes, institutions like University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have tried to start similar drone programs, but have been shut down by the Federal Aviation Administration for interfering with regulations. It is likely the FAA will shut down the program because the research conducted at the university won’t reach the standards the administration deems as official aeronautical research, which would require a coveted certificate from the FAA.