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  • Matt Spencer

The Dawn of the Drone in Africa

A Drone is for more than just scenic film and photography. Recently, drone technology has been infiltrating various industries for the better. These drones have come to tackle everyday issues and empower many African communities.

Here are 5 ways drones are positively impacting on industry in Africa:

The Aquila drone:

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg’s Aquila Drone has promised to bring internet connectivity to various African communities. The high-altitude drone is solar-powered. Zuckerberg’s goal is for the drone to have the longevity to fly for months at a time, providing internet access all the while to communities in need. The drone fly’s over an area for an extended period of time, providing internet access. Whilst it is still in its test phase, the drone promises good things. Despite a rough first test flight, Aquila’s second flight occurred on May 22, with a total flight time of one hour and 46 minutes in the air. The drone rose to a flight ceiling of above 3,000 feet, and climbed at a rate that was double that of the first test flight — Aquila ascended at 180 feet/minute, which the team working on the project says was a result of a number of “refinements” made to the Aquila platform as a result of info gleaned from the first test. The plan eventually is for Aquila to fly for up to 90 days at a time, offering internet access to an area 60 miles wide using the giant craft, which has a massive 113-foot wingspan. According to Zuckerberg, “When Aquila is ready, it will be a fleet of solar-powered planes that will beam internet connectivity across the world”.

Agriculture monitoring:

Drone technology has greatly benefitted the agricultural industry, as farmers have turned to drones to monitor their land. With drones, farmers can monitor their agricultural output and methods, thus supporting and upskilled workforce and general cost cutting. Through this, it can also contributes to sustainable agriculture. Western Cape member of the executive council for economic opportunities, Alan Winde, has said that “We’ve seen across Africa how technology can help us leapfrog other economies. In agriculture, which is generally perceived as being unprogressive, adoption of technology has in fact happened very quickly,” He further states that  “The race is on to produce higher quality food with maximum efficiency to ensure we keep pace with growing demand. This increased competitiveness has the potential to grow our economy and create more jobs. By embracing technology, Africa can become the food basket of the planet”.

Forest conservation:

Forest conservation has been quite a bit issue across Africa. With the use of drones, deforestation and mining operations can be greater monitored. The information gathered by the drones is then sent to the necessary officials, thus holding land abusers accountable and protecting the environment.

Medical delivery and humanitarian efforts:

Drones can deliver medical supplies to remote areas in need. Small drones are able to transport these supplies over long distances, reaching areas that otherwise would not have been able to be reached. This has aided Rwandan clinics, and is soon to spread to Tanzania. Furthermore, drones can deliver disaster relief to communities in need. In addition, drones can also aid in genocide prevention. This is done by drone monitoring of militia in war-torn countries, alerting groups such as the United Nations to act if there is danger.

Animal conservation:

The African Rhino has been facing extinction for years as a result of the mass-poaching attacks that have been occurring, especially in South Africa. Since the beginning of the poaching epidemic, South Africa has lost thousands of rhino’s, with the number increasing daily. The African elephant is also facing danger. Elephant poaching has been on the rise, with estimated levels of illegal elephant killings in Central Africa occurring at unsustainable levels relative to natural population growth. Various responses have been formulated to this problem, drone technology being one of them. Drones can travel over large distances, equipped with thermal imaging cameras enabling them to see animals and poachers in the bush at night, and thus alerting authorities to react. In this way, drones act as an effective anti-poaching tactic, aiding in conserving our continents animals.

What are your thoughts about drones? Let us know in the comments down below!

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