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Drone Engineers

The Job

Drone engineers plan and design unmanned aircraft systems for various industries beyond the armed forces. They work for government agencies, construction companies, engineering firms, manufacturers, research groups, agriculture, computer science research groups, and more. They read blueprints, technical drawings, and schematics, and research and design machinery, equipment, and operating systems for unmanned aircraft. They work independently and also as part of a team, conferring frequently with other engineers and project members to gather technical information, discuss engineering designs, and troubleshoot any design and operational problems as they arise.

Drone engineers use computers and software programs to plan and design drones. They use analytical or scientific software, computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software, and graphics or photo imaging software. They develop methods of and protocols for testing and documenting drone systems and operations. The job also entails documenting the progress of their work, keeping project schedules, and creating budgets and reporting on costs.

Their daily work activities involve reading technical documents so that work can be planned, designing drone systems or equipment according to project specifications, and evaluating the characteristics of the drones. Drone engineers are in frequent contact with their supervisors, team members, and clients, via e-mail, telephone, and in-person meetings, keeping everyone up to date on the status of the work and discussing and resolving any issues that present themselves.

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