We live in a world of short
attention spans, snap decisions and a universally increased propensity for
instant gratification. Which is why drone delivery of commercial goods have
captured our imaginations with its promise of novelty, quick satisfaction,
flexibility and personal attention.
Also known as UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles), drones have been touted as a marketing gimmick, with South Africans
loving the fun aspect. Delivery of beers to the Oppikoppi festival as ‘manna’
is highly appealing to the festival revellers. So is receiving your hot pizza
via a drone, or Valentines flowers from your amore, or even your plate of food
inside a restaurant. The novelty factor is undeniable. And the aerial coverage
and views of media and sporting events hold great benefits to the TV viewer.
Take the application to a deeper
level, and the possible applications for delivering life-saving medicines into
rural or cut-off disaster struck areas are numerous. Drones could become
instrumental in anti-poaching and anti-crime efforts. Practical commercial and
industrial applications such as terrain mapping, town planning, vehicle
tracking, security, crime fighting and aerial photography for the property
industry are numerous. Drones can come in any size, some as small as bottle
Drones, or UAV’s are not new, and
have been used by the military for stealth operations since the 1950’s. But
with all these new, positive ideas and applications, come the possibility of
far more sinister ones, such as the transport of weapons, illegal drugs,
unlawful spying and dangerous theft of drone cargo by shooting the drone down.
So, what are the rules? South
Africa has been ahead of the curve with this, with the South African Civil
Aviation Authority issuing regulations in 2015 on banning the use of drones
within 50m of people or buildings. In order to operate a drone in SA, you need
a CAA approved and valid remote pilots licence, as well as letter of approval
to fly the drone, valid for 12 months. The drone cannot be flown more than 120m
off the ground or within 10km of an aerodrome, nor can they be flown adjacent
to or above a nuclear power plant, prison, crime scene, police station, court
of law or national key point. Visual contact must be maintained, so you cannot
therefore fly the drone in bad weather conditions. For full details of the
regulations you can visit www.caa.co.za.
From a global perspective, the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is set to introduce
international policy by 2028, and thereafter consensus will need to be
achieved. Is this fast enough?
Drones or UAV’s are set to become
very important for Africa, the continent predicted to become the biggest
commercial UAV operator and consumer, with South Africa as the hub. Google
bought 15 UAV firms as part of a project to roll out WiFi across Africa, using
heavy duty drones.
So, with the legalities being
wrestled over, how could drones affect your business, and increase your
productivity, supply chain, logistics and overall success? Worth a thought!
Have an opinion? Why not come and
share it with us at Tech-Pro, and at the same time, you can make sure your
career is heading in the right direction, or nab that top-notch candidate you
need to ensure your business ‘takes flight’!
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