South Africa Flying Labs is born

Then the Lord said unto Flying Labs; “Go forth into the world and multiply.”

And so they did.

We know the above quote is in there somewhere in the bible, although we cannot seem to remember the exact book and the verse at the moment. But what is important is that humanitarian drone and robotics technology organisation WeRobotics’ Flying Labs network has given birth to another baby.

This time the bun from WeRobotics’ Power of Local oven has found a home in South Africa. At long last, one might add; because as the leading country on the African continent in terms of drone technology, South Africa might have led the rest in opening South Africa Flying Labs a long time ago.

But better late than never and all that; South Africa Flying Labs becomes the nineteenth Flying Labs franchise in Africa, and the fifth in Southern Africa, after Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Zimbabwe Flying labs.

Born out of the collaborative efforts of a consortium of start-ups in the country led by QP Drone Tech and comprise Vula Air Technologies and Ntiyiso Consulting, the new drone technology baby is championing drone and robotics technology for social good in South Africa by employing new technology, training a new generation of innovators, and fostering an enabling environment for technology for social impact.

“South Africa Flying Labs is a local robotics innovation hub with a global model, implementing social projects with sustainable impact,” said Flying Labs parent organisation WeRobotics in announcing the new arrival. “South Africa Flying Labs builds local expertise in drones, robotics, data, and fourth industrial revolution (4IR) knowledge and skills through training, workshops, and field projects. Their focus will be on local schools, start-ups, and youth, which they plan to engage with STEM education.”

The franchise also works with the University of Wits, Tinghwazi Consulting, Tower Engineering and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) South Africa.

Already, it has held an introductory workshop to robotics technology, where it focussed on capacity building through STEM education, tower inspection and monitoring, infrastructure security and surveillance, disaster management, among a few other topics.

“The South Africa Flying Labs will also create entrepreneurial opportunities for small businesses and start-ups through pilot projects and strategic partnerships with companies and organisations that invest in drones for social good projects to build use cases. They will promote and facilitate social dialogue with relevant stakeholders such as NGOs, government and private sector actors, and universities to adopt drones, robotics, and 4IR.”

The public and private drone space in South Africa could be ripe for some locally-led solutions, with murmurings that the government and other state-owned enterprises have been looking to invest in drone technology, to safe guard the border as well as rail and electricity infrastructure; for instance.

Cheering for you, SA Flying Labs. Congratulations.

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