How lesser-developed countries will benefit from drones in the future
It’s only a matter of time before UAV usage in the UK and US becomes more widespread – media, farming and healthcare will all be beneficiaries. So just imagine how valuable this technology could be to countries that are less economically advanced!
Here are three examples of how technological pioneers are using UAVs to improve the state of lesser-developed countries.
Jonathan Ledgard – Afrotech
Jonathan is a long-standing foreign and political war correspondent for The Economist. More recently, as Director of the Future of Africa at the Swiss Federal institute of Technology is Lausanne, he has overseen the development of flying cargo robots in Africa. His vision is to create two main ‘lines’ of UAV delivery: a red line, which is for medical emergencies such as transporting blood, and a blue express line, which will deliver commercial goods between major cities.
It is only recently that Africa has been able to support this sort of technology as, just a few years ago, internet connectivity and mobile penetration were so poor that ideas of this sort weren’t really viable. And Africa would benefit massively from a drone delivery network – the majority of African cities have terrible traffic congestion issues. Unfortunately, many military leaders in Africa are suspicious of drone technology and still need to be persuaded of its value.
Dr Peter Enderlein – the British Antarctic Survey
Peter Enderlein has worked at the BAS, Cambridge since 2001. As Senior Marine Science Engineer, he is responsible for developing a comprehensive range of research equipment. In 2011, he began building his own UAVs from scratch, and has since begun using them in his work.
Unsurprisingly, Antarctica is not quite as heavily regulated as Africa, meaning that the British Antarctic Survey are pretty much free to do as they please with the drones they use. Peter has been using UAVs for surveillance projects and aerial photography. Specific projects include monitoring turbulence fluxes between atmosphere and the sea ice, sea ice reconnaissance issues and penguin colony surveys. The key benefits of polar UAVs are that they disturb wildlife as little as possible, and they reduce the risk to humans, sometimes operation at -20 degrees Celsius.
Serge Wich – ConservationDrones.org
Serge Wich started his biology study at the University of Amsterdam but moved to Utrecht University for his MSc on Sumatran orangutan feeding ecology in 1995. After many years of research and study, Serge joined Liverpool John Moores University in 2009, and later co-founded ConservationDrones.org in 2012.
Serge Wich’s work has drawn attention to how useful UAVs can be in the prevention of poaching in remote areas. In the past, he’s created effective anti-poaching drones by adapting hobby unmanned aircrafts with cameras and free software. On top of forest patrol, UAVs of this sort can assist with mapping and surveys of at risk areas.
Can you suggest any other ways in which UAVs could improve the state of lesser-developed countries? Leave your comments below.
Find out what else you missed at The Commercial UAV Show, where 1600 people attended to learn who uses UAVs and how…[Image: Wired]