You saw what the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) had to say at the 2022 Zimbabwe International Drone Conference. After they relinquished the microphone we got to hear from some of the people that they regulate and also from visitors from beyond our borders.
Sam Twala of NTSU Aviation from South Africa presented on how his company consults companies on compliance, drone program implementation and more. They also offer drones operations management and supply the drones too, being a reseller of DJI drones.
NTSU has clients in mining, engineering inspections, survey, security surveillance, filming, agriculture, real estate, amongst others in South Africa. They have delivered 25 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator Certificates with 24 in progress. It doesn’t sound like it but those are impressive numbers.
Sam then went into unmanned traffic management. He highlighted how convoluted the process is. There are too many players to liaise with, too much data that’s manually captured, too many regulations to abide by etc, making drone operations a nightmare.
Their solution to this problem is the DroneLogbook. It’s supposed to simplify drone operations, safety management, and compliance through a comprehensive management platform.
The DroneLogbook, available on the web or via an app should streamline many admin tasks; Mission Planning, Compliance Reporting, Maintenance Reporting, Flight Tracking, Custom Digital Forms, Offline Operations, Fleet Management, Personnel Tracking, Scheduled Inspections.
Check out what it’s all about here.
Kenya Flying Labs (KFL)
KFL is a robotics knowledge hub creating a local drone ecosystem and jobs, through training courses, projects, specific sector programs and community engagement in Kenya.
Their sector oriented programs include:
-AidRobotics – pre/post disaster response and management, policy and coordination with robotics solutions and data analytics
-Youth Robotics – Handles STEM related activities with young people in schools and colleges with an aim of introducing UAV technology early as a career pathway to aviation in general.
Cleopa Otieno who represented KFL then showed us some of what they have been up to.
They are using seeder drones for ecological rehabilitation. For this they drop seedballs, which are “seed inside a ball of charcoal dust mixed with some nutritious binders” in areas marked for rehabilitation.
Using drones they are able to cover more ground quicker, and also reach places that would be impossible to reach otherwise. All at lower costs and risks than the alternative, helicopters.
They are also using drones to help with traffic monitoring and management. Apparently Nairobi traffic is worse than Harare’s, if you can believe it. They are ranked as the world’s 4th most congested city.
KFL is working to optimise use of drones in urban environments to help change that. They aim to improve vehicle detection and tracking algorithms.
They are also doing a feasibility study on using airships to improve health outcomes. Airships with 250km of electric power range, which increases to 750km when the sun is out and can carry 50kg of cargo are to be used for delivery between multi health facilities in one flight.
There was more
There were yet more speakers at ZIDC with interesting presentations and we shall be looking at those too.