Skydio joins the Flying Labs family

American drone manufacturer Skydio will be joining technology non-profit organisation WeRobotics and its worldwide Flying Labs family as a technology partner.

And here is the why part: around 2015, WeRobotics launched the first Flying Labs in Nepal because – in the aftermath of the response to the earthquake that had rocked the nation – it had undergone the lived-in experience of understanding the importance of using local human resources to lead solutions for local problems, instead of hiring expatriates.

But the new network of problem solvers in the global south (there are over 30 Flying Labs across the global south now, with a few more coming by the end of this year) needed the requisite knowledge and experience to offer solutions at par with the best in world.

Enter the technology partners.

“All of our technology partners form an essential part of the Flying Labs network and are key to our mission at WeRobotics,” WeRobotics says.

“By creating these partnerships with industry leaders, we can accelerate the transfer of knowledge and technology from industry directly to local experts across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and beyond.

“This enables local experts to be amongst the first-movers in their own countries and regions to offer new and/or significantly better services to scale social good projects with these new technologies.

“This, in turn, paves the way for many more locally-led projects in the social good space because local experts have the local knowledge and lived experience to drive impactful and sustainable projects focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

And that is exactly why Skydio has joined the likes of DJI, AerialMetric, Wingcopter, Redwing and Avy as a technology partner. A manufacturer of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles, Skydio’s drones use various sensors and proprietary computer vision technology for obstacle avoidance in real-time and anticipate flight changes to enable safe and truly autonomous flights.

“Skydio drones are thus able to accomplish tasks that no other drone on the market is currently able to do,” said WeRobotics in a statement.

“The company recently became the first drone unicorn in the United States by reaching a $1 billion valuation. We are very pleased to share that Skydio is now a formal technology partner of the Flying Labs Network and WeRobotics.

“Skydio’s impressively autonomous technology is unparalleled and opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the rapidly growing number of local experts across the Flying Labs Network.

“Skydio has joined us as a formal technology partner because they believe in our mission, clearly see the meaningful impact that Flying Labs are having worldwide, and because they’re committed to accelerating their social impact beyond the US. What’s more, they’re keen to learn from Flying Labs about how they apply their drone technology across sectors and diverse parts of the planet.”

Negotiations to have Skydio on board as one of the technology partners for WeRobotics ad Flying Labs have been going on since 2020, and WeRobotics have said that they are happy to learn that they shared “a strong commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

“We also share a strong commitment to gender balance, youth, and STEM. In sum, we’re excited for the opportunity to partner with Skydio to advance these shared values, and we’re equally grateful for their kind support and trust.”

One such Flying Labs that is set to benefit from working with Skydio is Zimbabwe Flying labs, which has been making rounds across the country, introducing the technology of drones and robotics to rural youth, under its Aviation and Tourism Careers Expo programme.

Recently, the franchise was in the rural community of Nhakiwa in Mashonaland East province where they worked with 120 students and 13 teachers from six schools (Machekera Primary and Secondary; Mayema Primary; Mutize Primary, Magunje Primary and Morris Secondary)

Also in attendance to share knowledge were the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Air Traffic Controllers Association of Zimbabwe (under the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, Flight Wings Aviation); Women in Aviation International Zimbabwe Chapter, Zimbabwe Flying Labs, Precision Drone Training and African Leaders In Aviation.

With the expertise gleaned from the international drone technology partners as well as the local aviation experts, Zimbabwe Flying Labs was able to successfully “inspire, empower, and equip their audience with a new career opportunity for when they grow up.

“Our partners’ generous support enabled us to make a lasting impact on the lives of the students,” Zimbabwe Flying Labs said.

“One can only aspire to be what one has been exposed to. We are forever indebted to our partners for their immeasurable support to expose the students to the world of Aviation and Tourism.

Zimbabwe Flying Labs is very pleased for the partnership with Skydio, America’s leading commercial drone manufacturer for civilian unmanned operations. Skydio is a market leading commercial drone manufacturer that produces drones powered with artificial intelligence technology and have most advanced obstacle avoidance systems on any commercial grade drone.

“The partnership will extend Zimbabwe Flying Labs Drones in STEM Education programme for young learners in Zimbabwe and will focus on technology innovation, education and skills development.”


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