11 February 2016

Rwanda: Drones - Another Bold Move in Service to People

Photo: Algérie Presse Service
(file photo)
editorial

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, first came into the public domain in a terrifying manner; the US military using them to rain death and destruction on its enemies.

But as time went by, the new technology gave rise to more innovative civilian uses. Some have been equipped with pesticide-filled tanks to easily spray large swathes of farmland, aerial photography, while others have been fitted with sophisticated cameras that can detect gas and oil pipe leaks buried in the ground, to name but a few.

Amazon, the online retail giant is also toying with the idea of delivering parcels to its clients thereby beating traffic jams and reinventing mail delivery as we know it.

But drones have failed to shake off the old "snooping" tag and difficulties in controlling their use. Since it is a new field with endless possibilities as well as dangers, many countries are yet to come up with regulatory instruments.

Rwanda has not been left behind in the rush to embrace the new Eldorado and already drone policies are on the drawing board because UAVs will soon become a common feature in our skies.

The continent's first droneport - save for a few US military installations that help it fight terror - will soon take shape in Rwanda. But what will set aside Muhanga Droneport from the rest is that it will be for purely humanitarian purposes.

The first area of operation will be distributing medical equipment to even the most remote areas, and possibly in the region, saving time and lives at the same time.

It will be another audacious first from Rwanda; knowing how and when to embrace technology to improve the welfare of its people.

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