The most interesting part of the story is that the KNUST drones would serve multiple purposes!
Engineering students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology have amazed Ghanaians and the entire world with their being up to date with modern technology. The students in recent times have been making waves in scientific and technological innovations; but little did Ghanaians know that they have gone as far as producing functional drones!
A group of research scientists of The KNUST College of Engineering, has successfully developed and constructed a multiple-purpose drone. It is hoped that this new technology will go a long way to improve industrial and technological activities in Ghana.
According to the Provost of the College, Professor Mark Adom-Asamoah who spoke to Ghana News Agency, the unmanned flying robot has been successfully tested.
The newly developed and locally made KNUST drones will be put to the following uses and even more:
Collection of Weather Data and other Atmospheric Research
In addition to the traditional means of weather forecasting, drones help weather experts improve their predictions. And this is what these Ghanaian engineers are putting in place, to include Ghana among the many other developed countries already using the technology.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is reportedly working on developing a drone for monitoring dangerous weather – hurricane and severe storm sentinel; a device capable of studying the storm from above, closer than any manned aircraft could attempt without plunging into disaster.
Monitoring Agricultural Activities
It has been discovered through research that monitoring farm activities from above gives far more accurate results than could ever be gotten from below. Better still, using unmanned aircraft (i.e drones) have proven to be even more accurate.
The possible uses of drones in the field of agriculture include; mid-season crop health monitoring (scouting), irrigation equipment monitoring, mid-field weed identification, variable rate fertility, cattle herd monitoring, among others.
If the KNUST drones innovation is properly put to use, Ghana is sure to record tremendous improvement in farming as we can already see that the ‘flying detecting machine’ does far more than human beings could do when it comes to detecting and monitoring.
Detecting Environmental Degradation (e-waste)
The newly innovated KNUST drones are also set to serve as eco-drones which are used for conservation of ecosystems through monitoring damaging substances. They can actually access very hard-to-reach sites with very minimal impact. For the meantime, the KNUST drones have been used to inspect the level of e-waste at the Agbogbloshie market.
Although clear details on this are not yet available, it is also expected that the drones would be put to use in criminal detection in the security sector.
Medical Supplies in Deprives Areas
Conducting newsmen round some of the new inventions, Prof Asamoah explained that the drones would also be used for medical supplies to deprived areas such as the Afram Plains.
In some advanced countries, drones are already being used for dispatch services (courier); ranging from post items, to lunch box delivery!
Government Assistance Needed
Among other technological developments of the KNUST College of Engineering are solar traffic lights, portable biogas system, and an open space fire detector – the first of its kind in the globe. The university who has the credit of producing about 95% of Ghana’s graduate engineers, have manufactured a lot of techs that are making life easy for Ghanaians in various areas of life.
In addition to these, the provost assured that the college is determined to come up with new technologies that will facilitate the country’s development. He therefore called on the government to give them immediate and meaningful support, especially in the drone technology innovation.
More About Drones
Drone, formally known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) or some other names, is an an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Depending on its type, a drone could be controlled remotely by man or operate autonomously by on-board computers.
Drones whose development dates as far back as early 1900’s has been put to use in diverse fields of endeavours; especially those places that are beyond human reach or rather too dangerous for him.
Research into drone technology, innovations and scientific developments has heightened recently; bringing a tremendously diverse and new uses of the device – from saving lives to protecting the ecology. Drones have in fact, become the eyes and ears of scientists!
According to Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) estimates, the global market for commercial application of drone technology which is currently at £2 billion, is expected to skyrocket to as much as £127 billion by year 2020.