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The Role Played By Drones in Transforming Different Sectors in Africa

Drone technology

Drones were initially known as aerial vehicles that were used for military purposes. The vehicles have now gone from taking aerial images to delivering lifesaving medical equipment. Currently, drones are being used in various African regions more so in rural areas where it is challenging to move around. Many African countries are worried about security threats that are brought about by drones. Moreover, there is the growth of evidence in the countries that accept them as they can be vital in overcoming many problems. This is the main reason as to why organizations such as UNICEF are funding and supporting drone firms. We decided to throw an eye into different African sectors where the usage of drones is applicable.

Climate Change, Mining and Environment

Massive Dynamics in Sudan came up with a drone that is in a position to plant trees by itself. This was aimed at tackling the challenge of desertification in the country. The drone is currently being used to plant Acacia trees whose roots are known to stop the sand movement. Based in South Africa, Rocketmine is used in the mining sector for collecting data. Cameroon has Drone Africa that it could use it to detect gas in mines to minimize accidents. Collection of chemical substances and wastes in ports and canals has been made easier by Ranmarine Technology.

Agriculture

Investiv Group, an agritech startup from Ivory, uses drones to assist farmers carryout pre-farming studies on their farms and harvest forecasting with a goal of increasing farm production. WeFly Agri helps farmers to check and manage the operations of their farms locally. Joseph-Olivier Biley founded the startup after paying a visit to his father’s farm. He then discovered that workers were illegally constructing their farms on it. Maisam Pyarali together with his five friends developed a drone in 2015 to assist Tanzanian farmers in checking on their crops. The drone relieves the farmers from the need of walking driving or walking around their large acres piece of land. Based in SA Aerial Monitoring Solutions, FarmPin, ALTI, and Aerobotics are helping farmers in collecting data. AeroShutter is also doing the same thing in Ghana. Parrot-Airinov partnered with CTA to support a project that targeted to calibrate the diagnostic model for nitrogen fertilization on wheat in Rwanda.

Health

Zipline a drone startup that uses a drone to deliver vaccines and blood mainly in East Africa is now the most famous drone story in Africa. Rwandan medical personnel is in a position to order blood by just sending a text. This is given the fact that rural areas have challenges of internet connectivity. Compared to road delivery which takes hours to dispatch the required tools drone only takes 30 minutes to make a single delivery. The company first launched the program in Rwanda, but Tanzania, later on, worked with Zipline to put up a more extensive program that the one in Rwanda. The program brought into Tanzania 100 drones which are in a position of making 2,000 flights per day attending to around 10 million people. Matternet, a drone tech startup, has also followed the same root and worked with UNICEF to carry out HIV tests in Malawi. The drones pick up the samples of blood reducing the time taken to carry out the test. Malawi has another project where UNICEF launched a drone testing corridor which allows it to experiment together with the humanitarian application of the instruments. The project has already made it possible to research the breeding site of Malaria in the Kasungu district in the country. Nigeria recently funded Arone in piloting drones to use it in the health sector may be.

Other applications of drone

The instrument is also used for discovering media, media, archaeological sites and other different sectors. The Nigerian Natural History Museum uses them in taking pictures of archaeological sites in Ilara and Ile-Ife in the Southwestern region of Nigeria. The drones make it simple to detect the walls of the city and see the area topography making it easier to tell the point to probe next. Autonomous Systems Research an open sources project funded by UNICEF helps in generating data using remote sensing. Individuals can use the project to research data points such as the number of the human population found in remote areas. South African base Drone Scan uses drones to take warehouse inventory. Media practitioners in Ghana are using Aeroshutter to capture images and assemble videos. Reports are there that Flying Donkey and Redline are working to come up with the application of drones in courier delivery there is not enough progress seen in the area. United Drone Holdings and UAV industries are offering drain training.

From the above starts, it is clear that the agricultural sector has the lion share of where drone tech is applied most. The technology has had a large impact on the health sector from the humanitarian point of view. This has largely taken place in the East African region that seems to be the preferred region for the technology. But there are stiff regulations by most African countries that limit the application of drone. Apart from that, the high cost of building, maintaining and operating drones is also a major stumbling block to its application in Africa. This also affects the cost of buying one. For instance, the Nigerian Natural History Museum borrowed drones from the US which later on took them back leaving Nigeria with no other option but to purchase theirs.

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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on dennis@techinafrica.com and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
Denis the Tech guru

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