African Drone Industry: Winners of the Lake Kivu Challenge Announced!

image courtesy African Drone Forum

The African Drone Forum held a virtual awards ceremony this morning to name the winners of the Lake Kivu Challenge.  All of the participants are winners in the African drone industry, having had the opportunity to demonstrate cutting edge technology in real world scenarios before a large audience of global stakeholders.

The Lake Kivu Challenge

The African drone industry is a critical global market, as governments and NGO’s invest in new technologies with the potential to help solve supply chain problems and boost local economies.  The Lake Kivu Challenge gave 10 participants from around the world the opportunity to showcase cutting edge technologies in 3 different real world scenarios.

Emergency Delivery: Teams delivered packages to remote island and returned to base on shore; Sample Collection: Teams picked up sample packages from identified spots on a the island, returning to base on shore; Find and Assess: Teams surveyed a remote island and identified GPS positions in order to enable a rescue in the case of a natural disaster.  Additionally, teams were required to locate and accurately track boats in the water.

Drones were visible to air traffic control at all times: and all flights performed were beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS.)

The Hon. Paula Ingabire, Rwandan Minister of ICT and Innovation, says that the Challenge itself was a significant step for the African drone ecosystem.  The challenge “allowed us to understand how these applications can help us to build supply chains and resilience,” said Ingabire.  “This is just the beginning: the Lake Kivu Challenge is not just about a competition, but about bringing attention and focus of the international drone industry to Rwanda.”

The Winners

Competitors were chosen after strict screening from over 70 applications – and all participants deserve recognition.  (Read more about them here).  The winners, however, receive a significant cash prize provided by the World Bank and the U.K. DFID.  The World Bank’s Regional Director, Franz Drees-Gross, said that the competition was set up to replicate unique issues and problems of terrain.  “Lake Kivu is a setting that is not only beautiful, but one that represents the real challenges that we find in Africa,” said Drees-Gross.

Image courtesy Wingcopter

German drone delivery company Wingcopter won the Emergency Delivery category,

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