A team of local experts in Zambia are pioneering drone technology for regional, as well as national, industries that can benefit from robotics and automation, including transportation logistics and road safety, power distribution and national security, agriculture and community development; wildlife conservation and education. This is all part of the team’s aim to provide solutions with meaningful socio-economic impacts in their communities.
Today, we are excited to welcome that team into the Flying Labs network as Zambia Flying Labs.
Zambia Flying Labs is focused on providing local UAV solutions, drone training programmes, STEM education and advancing the use of robotic and automation technology in their country. With robotics and AI technologies advancing at an exponential rate and new opportunities emerging for governments, development organizations, research centres, and private companies to obtain real-time, high-resolution and actionable data, the Zambia Flying Labs is uniquely suited to help the public and private sector in Zambia realize those opportunities. Their technological expertise, rooted in their local knowledge, enables them to continuously research and test new solutions for drones and AI for social good by working collaboratively with leading experts, hobbyists and academics.
For the past two years, Subi Thomas, director of iDrone Services, a private aerial mapping company has been exploring the use of drones for agriculture and asset mapping in Zambia. This year (2019), iDrone Services partnered with School of Engineering at University of Zambia and iKAN Konsult to promote the use of drones by demonstrating drone survey to the local schools and colleges, and teaching them to harness the power of technology for social impact.
With the success of this program, the University of Zambia and iKAN Konsult formed a core team, in partnership with iDrone Services, to engage WeRobotics in helping them launch their own Flying Lab to provide local UAV solutions, drone training programmes, and STEM education.
For example, iDrone Services and the Zambia Flying Labs team is striving to simplify the sUAS technology by offering after school program using DIY drones, including not just drone training but also assembly, repair and maintenance programs. This capacity building will lead to students developing the skills necessary to assemble and maintain their own small drones locally. The iKAN team is also working with the University of Zambia Engineering department to provide regular workshops for students to create a drone ecolab to design and process imagery for mapping and survey purposes.
The team has also started partnering with Tanzania Flying Labs on a extensive drone mapping project organized by the World Bank for city planners, airport personnel and the Lusaka City Council. As a strong regional partner, Tanzania Flying Labs has been instrumental to the newly-formed Zambia team in providing necessary technical support and manpower during this engagement, facilitating a healthy training and mapping environment, as well as additional local expertise in navigating regulations and activating key stakeholders and agencies.
As the team’s work progresses, we will share more updates. In the meantime, please join us in welcoming Zambia Flying Labs to the Global Flying Labs Network!