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Collaborative growth in commercial application of drones

Collaborative growth in commercial application of drones

By Freeman Ya Ngulu.

Namibia Flying Labs, a local outfit that promotes the deployment and use of drones to overcome development bottlenecks, has been making headway in taking their often-intimidating technology to rural communities.

Flying Labs coordinators, Charles Kamba (left) and Virginie Uwimana said they remain committed to harnessing the potential of drone technology and robotics to address societal challenges and uplift the lives of Namibians. Both come from an engineering background.

“When we started, it was so foreign. We would go to remote areas, and the drones would be quite intimidating for the local community. Without proper community engagement, it would be a very difficult exercise. But right now, after a lot of engagement with them, even small children know that it’s a drone and there’s excitement. That’s the biggest change I have seen,” said Kamba.

Initially the use of drones were unregulated since they do not fit any of the conventional definitions in Namcars, the Namibian civil aviation regulations, but that has changed since.

“The positive part of it is that an attempt is being made. When we started, there were no regulations in our country. But now there is a law. A challenge is that the technology is moving way faster than regulations can catch up. Sometimes you reach a bottleneck because the law does not account for some forms of technology. However, overall, the reception is good, and the fact that the authorities are making an effort and actually come up with regulations is something good,” he said.

Uwimana is a strong advocate for breaking the stigma around drone technology and is passionate about exploring how robotics can be used to improve the lives of Africans. She has worked for a Namibian multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm where she gained experience in the design, supervision and management of projects in the field of structures, roads, water, and environmental engineering.

The two signify the collaborative efforts vital for building relationships with local communities and leveraging the interconnected nature of a drone ecosystem that transcends borders.


About The Author

Freeman Ya Ngulu

Freeman Ngulu is an investigtor, an author and a keen entrepreneur. His speciality is data journalism for which he loves to dig deep into topics often ignored by mainstream reporting. He tweets @hobameteorite.