Northland Alumni Turns Passion for Robotics, Technology and Drones into a Career

Northland alumni and current UAV Technician, Caleb Dyrud says DRONETECH program led him to choose drones as a career path. Take a look at Caleb's story to learn more about his experience entering the UAS industry. 


Also - get involved with us and the autonomous technologies community by sharing your story! By sharing your experiences, accomplishments, and challenges, you are helping to inspire students, educators and industry professionals. To share yours, click here

Introducing M8-R SIM - A Virtual Simulation Game for Educating Users on Operating a Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle

Through collaboration, NCAT, along with partners – MATE Inspiration for Innovation and Clemson University Center for Workforce Development developed a virtual-reality simulation of an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that made its debut in June!


Designed for the MATE ROV Competition, M8-R SIM focuses on mitigating the catastrophic impact of climate change on coral reefs by eradicating crown of thorn sea stars (COTS). For MATE ROV Competition teams, the simulator provides them with an opportunity to practice their piloting skills while increasing their understanding of the impact that COTS have on coral reefs. 


M8-R SIM is the latest example of how the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development works with partners in industry and academia to create virtual reality simulations. The Center has developed more than 140 simulations, including modules that help students learn aviation maintenance, manufacturing safety and electric vehicle safety. 


M8-R SIM is a free resource available for download on PC or Mac. Visit to get more details about the simulator, examples of how it can be used, or to download and practice your underwater vehicle piloting skills. 

NCAT Viewbook 2.0

To say a lot has changed in the last year is an understatement. Partnerships have evolved, (in-person) activities are being scheduled, collaborations with other centers have developed new resources, and the list goes on. NCAT has been busy - and we have new resources to share with the AT community! 


Take a look at the updated version to learn more. 

2021 Minnesota ACE Camp

In light of COVID-19, the Minnesota Aviation Career Education (ACE) Camp was transformed into a day-camp, offering three days this summer for students grades 9-12 to attend and learn more about the different career options in the aviation field.


The events were hosted at Fleming Field in the South St. Paul Airport in June and July 2021. Students were put into groups and attended sessions throughout the day - with NCAT being one of the main group sessions.

UAS-CTI Grant and Mentorship Opportunities

With all the innovation across autonomous technologies, program development continues to be a focus for many schools and industry partners. Mentor Connect, which is funded by NSF, has partnered with NCAT and the Federal Aviation Administration UAS Collegiate Training Initiative (UAS-CTI), to provide cost-free, one-on-one assistance to faculty, administrators and grant writers to increase their capacity to submit a competitive grant proposal. In September, Elaine Craft, Principal Investigator for Mentor Connect, will present about their work and support they offer through Mentor Connect to pursue NSF grants for program development. Collaborative approaches through the FAA UAS-CTI community will contribute to the robust portfolio of NCAT resources, serving the broader community. 


North Dakota State of Science to Launch One of the Nation's First Autonomous Systems Technology Programs

The use of ground-based autonomous technologies is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years and North Dakota is working hard to lead the nation in autonomy, with a driving force being North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) with their development of the Autonomous Systems Technology certificate program.


This certificate program will give students an understanding of how the basic systems work, basic set up, and diagnostics. Designed to be multi-disciplinary, the AST program doesn’t focus on one specific area or industry, but rather provides students with the knowledge and skills that are transferable across different industry and career paths.


The AST program launches Fall of 2021 and NDSCS is currently accepting applications for students interested in obtaining a certificate. To learn more about how this certificate program was developed at NDSCS, visit

Aims Community College - Greenley, CO

We introduce Aims Community College, a hispanic serving institution and the first school featured in our UAS-CTI School Spotlight initiative. This initiative was created to highlight colleges across the nation who are part of UAS-CTI to show the diversity of programs and institutions offering drone courses. 


Interesting Fact About Aims Community College

One of the most affordable 2-year colleges in the state of Colorado, Aims Community College has an average class size of 16 students and has awarded 45,000+ degrees since 1968. 


Drone Pilot Training Program

Aims Community College offers an AVT 155 pilot training program that introduces and develops flight control and piloting techniques for common Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Students will learn and demonstrate maneuvers, procedures, and best practices for safe UAS operation on fixed wing and rotary wing drones. ATV 155 - UAS Flight Training will develop the skills and knowledge to prepare students to take the FAA Part 107 sUAS Certificate exam. To learn more, visit aims/edu

MATE World Championship - Excite, Educate, Empower - Students Engineering Solutions to Global Problems

August 5-7, 2021 | East Tennessee University | Virtual AltspaceVR


This year, the competition is challenging this community to tackle problems that impact the entire world. Plastics clogging our rivers, lakes, waterways, and ocean, from the surface to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. There will be both telepresence and in-person events, with in-person being held at East Tennessee University in Johnson City, Tennessee. The event will also be live streamed into the MATE Virtual World in AltspaceVR! For more information, visit


DRONETECH "Drone Build" Educator Workshop

July 26-28, 2021 | 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM | Fletcher College, Schriever, LA

August 4-6, 2021 | 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM | Northland, Thief River Falls MN


This FREE workshop was developed for secondary educators, post-secondary educators, and community mentors. Participants will have the opportunity to assemble, calibrate, and experiment with the ELEV-8 v$ Quadcopter, a small unmanned aerial vehicle purpose-built for education. For more information or to register, click here

MTTIA Summer Teachers Conference

August 3-5, 2021 | 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM | Central Lakes College, Brainerd MN


The 2021 MTTIA Train-the-Trainer Summer Conference is geared towards meeting the 20 hours NATEF training. Secondary and post-secondary instructors from the state of Minnesota meet at this conference to share best practices and update their skills. This is a must conference for those who want to stay abreast of changing technology. You can also receive a CEU certificate for the MTTIA training. For more information or to register, click here


August 16-19, 2021 | Atlanta, GA or Virtual


Join a community of end users, technologists, and policymakers working together to write the next chapter of autonomous innovation and assure its safe and seamless integration into everyday life. NCAT will be an exhibitor at the conference - stop by our booth and say hi (Booth #3542). For more information, visit


NCAT provides up to $1,000 reimbursement for travel costs associated to attending professional development. To apply for reimbursement, visit


Explore STEM! @UTSA Camp

August 2-6, 2021 | Virtual (for Texas residents only)

The Explore STEM @UTSA is open to Texas high school students ages 14-22 with disabilities currently working with a Texas Workforce Commission counselor. The purpose of the camp is to expose students with disabilities to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers and excite them about the possibility of pursuing careers in STEM. The students will learn basic computer programming concepts, programming skills, computer vision, and machine learning. In addition to the hands-on activities, students will also hear from guest speakers currently working in STEM fields to learn about different types of STEM careers they could pursue. To learn more click here


Drone Light Shows - Connecting Art, Science, and Technology to Tell a Story

In the spirit of the month of July, and Independence Day, we wanted to share insight on the topic of Drone Light Shows and not only the technology and software that it takes to run a show, but the design and planning process to run a successful event. Intel is a leader in drone light show technology, designing hardware and software that is specific for light shows. At the intersection of art, science, and technology - drone light shows enable a new, innovative format to tell your story in the sky.


Watch the video above to learn more about Intel's drone light shows.

Job Opening: Autonomous Vehicle Driver in Rochester, MN

First Transit is calling on applicants who want to be part of the future of transportation. Have you considered being a Driverless Vehicle Ambassador? Do you have a passion for vehicles or have vehicle maintenance experience? If so, click below to learn more.


Watch the video above to learn more about First Transit and their autonomous systems. 


Leaderboard Challenge

Pilot your way to the top of the M8-R SIM leaderboard for a chance to win an Oculus Quest headset! Currently, #indawahta is the one to beat with a very impressive score of 11000 points - nice work!


Contest ends August 4 at 11:59pm with the winner announced on August 7 at the MATE ROV Competition Award Ceremony and shared via social media.

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