New drone start-up born in South Africa

A new South African drone start-up is appealing for funding to see the completion of its inaugural drone projects and its introduction onto the local market.

Coming out of Johannesburg in South Africa’s Gauteng province, iPhiko UAV and Automation say they are a manufacturing enterprise that researches and develops multi-purpose drones. Inspired by infrastructure gaps created by the COVID-19 pandemic, iPhiko are dedicated to providing affordable solutions that enable safe working environments, surveillance and automated last mile deliveries.

But all these dreams hinge on them launching the first drone – which they named the P1 drone – as soon as they can secure funding.

“The P1 South African Optimism is our multi-purpose vertical take-off and landing drone,” says Bafana Makalima, founder and CEO of iPhiko UAV. “Its light and aerodynamic structure allows it to operate over a wide area and offer a variety of solutions. These solutions will include surface sterilisation, goods delivery and surveillance.”

Their SOS for government funding had not been responded to at the time of going to press.

Makalima added that the new drone will provide rapid and efficient unmanned last mile deliveries, which will enable social distancing while augmenting the local economy. Future plans involve drones that will be able to monitor clients’ assets over a wide areas of space; and sterilisation drones that will use ultra-violet light C (UVC) germicidal lamp module to sterilise surfaces and improve public hygiene and health.

According to Makalima, the iPhiko team consists of engineers with experience in process design, research and development; and supply chain process automation.

“We are passionate about technology and we believe the Fourth Industrial Revolution technology can augment the South African Experience, enable development and save lives.”


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