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Oakland University MBA Students Conduct Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Research

Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed think the best usage for UAV would be for search and rescue.

Rochester, MI, August 27, 2015 --( Through their summer term research, Masters of Business Administration students conducted a marketing study of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for law enforcement agency use.

Their findings showed that 87 percent of those surveyed think the best usage to be for search and rescue. Out of the surveyed law enforcement agencies, four percent are currently using UAVs, but more than half are currently considering or would consider using them.

A UAV is a battery powered aircraft that uses control panels for movement and direction. Most carry a camera, are lightweight and smaller in size, so they are ideal for civil use. Law enforcement finds many uses for UAVs, but the best applications are search and rescue, and crime scene surveillance.

As a part of the marketing research course (MKT605), graduate students choose a project to work on throughout the summer semester. Kim Serota, a marketing research professor in the School of Business Administration, said he looks to provide “real life” project options for the students.

“I want my students to walk away from this course with real world knowledge,” he said. “I pick projects with a purpose so they can acquire analytic tools for their future.”

Though most previous classes conducted research for the university among students or alumni, this summer Serota provided choices outside of OU’s bounds. The students selected the product demand issue surrounding UAVs and law enforcement.

While using a real UAV company as a pro bono research client and law enforcement agencies as the prospective customers, students developed a study for finding the need and demand for UAVS by law enforcement.

The students sent out 390 email invitations to participate in an online survey to local police and sheriff departments, school police, transit and railroad agencies in Michigan. They received 77 valid responses(20%), which is considered a good response rate in market research.

The class was split into roles, where groups worked to obtain background information, create a problem definition, conduct research and draw conclusions. Serota, a former marketing research executive, provided guidance and expertise, but let the students absorb most of the experience.

“I am confident that this project gave them better insight into the process and also should make them better consumers of marketing research,” Serota said.

By the end of the semester, they make recommendations to the client and sent out a summary report to law enforcement agencies throughout Michigan. Their findings showed growing demand: 53 percent of those surveyed would consider using UAVs in the future.

For more on the OU School of Business Administration, go to
Contact Information
Oakland University
Eric Reikowski
(248) 370-4348

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