By: Hailey Temple

As a part of National Engineers Week last week, members of the New Explorations in Information and Science lab (NEXIS) at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) spoke to employees at Lockheed Martin in Syracuse about developments in unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) technology and policy.

Anthony Rotolo, professor of practice at the iSchool, joined iSchool sophomore Arland Whitfield to explain NEXIS studies in emerging technology. Specifically, they highlighted The Skyworks Projecta student group devoted to developing civilian drone technology.

Lockheed Martin has brought decades of experience and innovation to the technology field, especially developing drones for military surveillance and defense.

However, Whitfield provided Lockheed Martin employees the opportunity to understand the many ways drones are used outside of the military. “Lockheed Martin is the largest military contractor in the world, so I am on the opposite end of the spectrum with regards the purpose for creating drones,” said Whitfield. “I wanted to show them how drones are used in civilian life – from capturing film to carrying out deliveries, they are useful in so many industries.”

Whitfield decided to continue exploring developments with drones through college and and to join NEXIS to launch the Skyworks Project. During Whitfield’s time at the iSchool, the Skyworks Project has gained over 20 members interested in the development of drone technology and policy as it develops. “Syracuse University has been the perfect place to develop my understanding of drones and sharing that with others. Fortunately, NEXIS provides the resources and people to continue Skyworks Project,” said Whitfield.

With approximately 2,400 employees, Lockheed Martin’s Syracuse campus focuses on electronic, mission and radar systems. Following their talk, students from NEXIS toured Lockheed Martin’s testing and manufacturing sites. With state-of-the-art radar testing facilities and military technology, Whitfield enjoyed a look at the ways Lockheed Martin is using emerging technology: “Their innovative work with technology is incredible, so it was a great experience getting to see their work and speak with people are passionate about drone technology.”

The Skyworks Project meets every Friday in the ICE Box on the second floor of Hinds Hall. For more information, follow them on Twitter.