Construction Drones Rise Up in Africa

africa-152036_960_720With an increasing number of drones donning their hardhats and swooping into the construction and inspection sector, UAV adoption is growing exponentially across the globe and Africa is no exception.

In Namibia and Cameroon, officials and business leaders are teaming up to deploy drones for humanitarian and industrial use.

Earlier this month, the Namibia Business Innovation Institute heard about possible business-to-government partnerships from Michael Nauta, a drone specialist and engineering student at the University of Science and Technology.

Nauta pointed out that drones have great potential in inspecting high-risk construction projects that would normally be monitored by humans, saving both money and potentially lives.

“It is all up to you to utilize the information and technological breakthroughs given to you,” Nauta added.  In addition to construction and inspection drones, the seminar focused on the more general concept of “developing drones to facilitate quality of life in Namibia, and the opportunities and challenges of developing drones.”

As with many nations, drone deployment will face bureaucratic hurdles, Nauta said. Although Namibia has no comprehensive national drone policy, Nauta referenced government anti-drone actions, including the arrest of a journalist who was deemed a national security threat after filming a protest via drone.

Entrepreneurs in Cameroon are also finding new avenues of growth from drones. Mathieu Onguene recently launched a multi-faceted drone business that includes tourism-focused videography as well as construction-site inspection.

He charges clients between $170-$200 (USD) to film famous local landmarks as well as construction sites in his hometown of Ebolawa. “My use of drones is mainly to take images of the different parts of the city,” he said.

Other innovators like William Elong see the drone sector as a spark for a technological Renaissance in Cameroon across the drone service and manufacturing industries.

“There is a lot being done today in Cameroon to try and manufacture drones locally. There is a lot of talent and knowledge, it’s not just me,” Elong said.


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