[Editor’s Note: The seminar focused on using drones to increase quality of life in Namibia. ]
This post originally appeared on https://economist.com.na/18394/special-focus/drones-for-development-in-namibia/.
The Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII) from Namibia’s University of Science & Technology (NUST) earlier this week held their 16th innovation circle which was held under the theme “Drones for Development In Namibia” and was presented by Michael Nauta, a drone specialist and engineering student at NUST.
The seminar created a platform formed around a peer group of key players in the national innovation system. It focused on developing drones to facilitate quality of life in Namibia, and detailed on the opportunities and challenges of developing drones. In his opening remarks Nauta shared that his passion in aerodynamics begun during his studies in India in which he took part in a project titled ‘Project Disarm’.
Project disarm dealt with disaster management solutions through a series of technical innovations in the area of wireless networking and its application to enhance the preparedness of relief agencies and improve the use of smart devices for the better coordination of relief efforts. Nauta expalined that this innovation was quite successful thus he turned to his native country to enhance the development of such technology in Namibia.
Nauta elaborated that drones can be useful in multiple ways in Namibia, and noted using drones for bush encroachment as drones can be programmed with artificial intelligence and make accurate selections on which plants to eliminate. Surveying and land management, crop monitoring and farmland management and the use of drones for risky construction area inspections are also among the duties drones can provide for developing Namibia.
Nauta also stressed that although there are people capable of creating drones in Namibia there is a vast amount of challenges that halt it’s progress and noted that authorities are not so friendly, citing an arrest from police as a journalist video recording the June16th march by youth from the sky with his drone was arrested as it is considered a threat to national security.
He listed challenges such as legislature, funding, lack of skills, trade barriers, and bureaucracy as things that stand in the way of developing drones in Namibia. Nauta further noted that drones have endless possibilities as they can bring together people from different fields such as Designers, Engineers, Marketers, and Surveyors etc. “People can now gain access to never before utilized forms of advertising such as mounting a poster or advert on a drone and flying it around town to expose products to a wide variety of audiences.” Nauta shared.
With regard to the future of drones in Namibia, Nauta enthused “It is all up to you to utilize the information and technological breakthroughs given to you.” The Namibia Business Innovation Institute provides training, mentoring and business support to innovative entrepreneurs looking to establish their own companies as well as to researchers interested in commercialising their technology.