Introducing the haulage drone in Ghana
After witnessing first-hand the success of delivery drones in the medical industry (we have covered Zipline’s exploits in the country a few times here), the Ghanaian government has just itself that question.
Why just stop at small, short range delivery drones? Why not go the distance and… invest in drones that literally go the distance?
Ok; that’s like two questions, who is counting? The thing is, Ghana’s aviation ministry has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding American organisation, International Freight Drone, an American organisation that is planning to build long range freight drones that can fly for 700 kilometres at 5,000 feet, carry a standard freight container with a payload capacity of up to 10tonnes.
Besides designing and manufacturing freight drones, the organisation also works on designing proper drone ports for their humongous drones, which they are sure will be good for countries with bad road infrastructure that could delay movement of heavy-duty cargo.
The MOU will see the IFD developing the haulage drones and droneports for the Ghanaian government as well as offer a support system for the freight drone ecosystem, which will include unmanned traffic management, maintenance support, robotics, as well as freight packaging support.
The two parties expect the contents of the MOU to be followed through within the coming three years.
Other areas of cooperation include feasible studies to determine the impact of using drones; workforce development through a country-wide drone education program to support the industry; site surveys to determine droneport locations; and establishment of drone corridors for exclusive drone use.
The west Africa country hopes that, when fully integrated, the freight drones will be the transport of choice for moving finished goods and fresh agricultural products from the hinterlands to major towns and cities within minutes.
“In Particular, the use of drones will facilitate the rapid movement of cargo to unreachable areas of the country,” said Joseph Kofi. Adda, Ghana’s minister of Aviation, who signed the MOU on behalf of his government. “With Ghana now becoming the centre of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it means there will be the need to move cargo through the sub-region and other parts of the continent.”
Thomas Murphy, the founder and CEO of IFD, signed on behalf of his organisation. The IFD is also preparing the groundwork to introduce freight drone technology into the Democratic Republic of Congo and Columbia.