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Jaylene Naylor, 47, demonstrates a drone to some onlookers during the free, public drone flight training in the Schrieber Gym on Nov. 28, 2018. Naylor is assistant director of the Autonomous Aerial Systems Office at the University of Montana. 

UM’s designated drone office is offering technology resources across departments as it celebrates “Drone Week.”

“We are making sure the University is following regulations and making sure that students have the opportunities they deserve to learn and to consistently adapt with technology,” Autonomous Aerial Systems Office director Jennifer Fowler said.

The AAS office has connected campus to the information, training and equipment needed for different projects and commercial uses of drones since 2015. Drone regulations are constantly evolving, and the office stays in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration to help students use drones while navigating the new rules and technology.

“We help to give them the information and the equipment they need. We get them through this process, making sure they are doing it safely, efficiently and legally,” Fowler said.

Drones can be used for academic and commercial uses. The AAS office has worked with different disciplines across campus including art, wildlife biology, forestry, anthropology and athletics. Fowler said it’s valuable for students of all majors to use drone technology.

“Often people are siloed in different areas and we don’t know what people across campus are doing, but then now, with drones, we have this shared resource and shared interest. We are creating this cross-discipline connection,” Fowler said.

The University’s inaugural Drone Week is Nov. 26 to 30. It will showcase the uses of drones, what is required to fly a drone and connect different departments on campus.

“We want to get information out about how people have been using drones, and how they have done it successfully,” Jaylene Naylor, the AASO assistant director, said. “We thought, ‘Let's have a drone week.’”

Those attending will have the opportunity to hear from students, faculty and professionals about working with drones in their respective fields. Some highlights include collecting weather data, fire science and management, and collecting ecological data. Friday, Nov. 30, students can go to the AASO open house to learn more about the office and look at drones. Naylor said AASO will “have all the toys out” to show.