ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People could soon see more drones on the University of New Mexico’s campus. The university’s School of Engineering is working on creating a facility on campus where students can test drones. It plans on calling the facility LoboDrome.

“LoboDrome is a [sic] outdoor facility to fly drones that is [sic] embedded in the campus so you don’t have to leave campus,” Fernando Moreu, Assistant Professor at the UNM School of Engineering, said.

UNM students build and use drones for all types of projects. Moreu said because of FAA regulations, students have to find a way to Balloon Fiesta Park to test or validate drones outdoors, which can be challenging for some students. Having a place to test drones on campus would open more doors for more students.

“Students are, especially with COVID, they need to have a reason to study the hard materials that they do. And the LoboDrome enables them to see a new mission in their studies,” Moreu said. “It’s not just about the drone or the flying it’s about creating something for the world. So having a lab of this kind changes the students’ mission about their stage in life. Now they want to innovate, they want to create new things.”

The LoboDrome would be in the courtyard of the Centennial Engineering Center. Though there are no designs yet, Moreu said it would be similar to a cage in the courtyard with netting along the walls of the buildings and be enclosed on the top for a safe flying space.

Since there are no renderings yet and the School of Engineering still needs to get the project approved by the university, there is no word yet on how much LoboDrome would cost or when it would be up and running.

On October 2, the School of Engineering is holding a virtual presentation to officially announce the LoboDrome project. Students will also be presenting their renderings of what the LoboDrome could look like.

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