Checkout Program

Due to COVID considerations, the Drone Checkout program has been suspended for the Fall 2020 semester.

Drones are an amazing technology with the potential to change many industries.   From research data collection to facilities inspections to the digital arts to logistics and delivery, few areas of our lives will be untouched by these systems in the coming years.  UAV’s are not a new concept but with recent, rapid advances in technology and reduced system costs coupled buy the maturity of surrounding policies and laws, we believe there is strong reasoning to make drones easily available to the Duke community.

To further enable this technological exploration, the Innovation Co-Lab is making drone kits available for check-out.  Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to checkout UASs for a period of seven days without purpose or reasoning.  To reserve a drone please complete our request form and allow 3-5 days internal processing.  One of our staff members will be in touch regarding scheduling.

Please note that Duke Flight Requests and the CoLab Checkout Program are not synonymous.  These are two separate forms.  If you are seeking permission to fly at Duke, please see the Flight Requests page.

Our kits consist of the DJI Mavic quadcopter and related flight systems in a convenient pelican case.  These drones are small, lightweight yet have a long-range, intelligent flight control system, and collision avoidance systems.  In addition to the DJI Mavic Kits, we offer our community access to the DJI Inspire 2 professional system.  This is a larger quadcopter that had the capability of using advanced cameras and is well suited for professional work.  Use of this system does require the assistance of one of our Certified Drone Operators.

In addition to checking out a Drone Kit you may also request the services of a certified drone operator.  The FAA requires that any commercial use, including education, be conducted by an FAA Remote Pilot.  Our drone operator can accompany your team, pilot the craft, supervise flight activities while you fly, and provide consultation.  To schedule time with an FAA Remote Pilot, use the same request form and select that as an option.  For questions regarding this process or in general, please contact drones@duke.edu