What the first thing you think of when you hear the word “drone?” It might be killing machines . Or reconnaissance quadcopters . Or maybe a honey bee. But for a countless number of people in Africa, it could be a flying packmule with life-saving cargo.
On Monday, the organisers of the Flying Donkey Challenge announced the first 33 entrants in a series of events that will culminate in a drone race around Mount Kenya in 24 hours and a multi-million dollar prize for the winner. This specific group hails from all over the world and will compete in a subchallenge from November 8 through the 16 in Kenya, though the final challenge will take place in 2020. For now, each team has proposed a design for a so-called “flying donkey,” an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of delivering and collecting cargo that weighs about 20kgs.
The overarching idea, here, is obvious: Build a better cargo drone , get more cargo to more people in Africa. “Commercial drone technology has strong potential here to help overcome the limitations of the continent’s transportation infrastructure and deliver goods and services in remote regions — spurring new models for business and service delivery,” Kamal Bhattacharya, Director of IBM Research, Africa, said in a press release. … (Read more)