Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is one of the first schools in the nation with a drone program. Recently the school was out in the Gulf testing drones -- and one use is of particular interest to Houston's oil and gas industry.

Consultant Donald Price says engineers have been testing the drone's ability to spot oil slicks on their own.

"We've got different oil products in these tubs out here and we're gonna fly over them and see if we can detect the differences in the signatures with the camera system we have on the aircraft."

Price says it's difficult for manned aircraft to fly 12 hour shifts -- but it's a piece of cake for drones.

"We would like to at some point have the technology developed; the policy developed, so we could send a UAV out and just have it scan the Gulf."

"Rather than having a manned aircraft try to patrol that distance, that time, you send an unmanned aircraft that can stay air born for 12 hours on its own and have it scan an automatic pattern and see if it can detect the oil."

The Corpus Christi school is one of just six chosen by the FAA to operate a federal drone test site.