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Published On: Tue, Jul 7th, 2020

COVID-19: Expert advocates drone technology to map affected communities

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A drone technology expert, Mr Chichebe Akachukwu, says drone technology can be used to conduct incidence mapping of COVID-19 affected communities and monitor enforcement of controls.
Akachukwu, also Acting Director, Advanced Unmanned Aeriel Vehicles Laboratory (AUAVL), stated this on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
AUAVL is an activity centre of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
The laboratory had the mandate to be creative and proffer innovative technological solutions for socio-economic transformation using Unmanned Aeriel Vehicles (UAV) capabilities.
He said that COVID-19 reality had created an avenue that discouraged physical contacts and left nations of the world to resort to alternative ways of interactions.
Akachukwu explained that a drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), already used as alternative in some climes is an aircraft without human pilot on board with a ground-based monitored station for communication.
“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AUAVL tasked itself with the development of remote assistance platform for conferencing and telemedicine.
“We came up with the development of Internet of Things based medical assistant information system which gives displays of patient vital statistics.
“The AUAVL has experience to produce Personal Protective Equipment in the form of face coverings and drones can be deployed to do incidence mapping of affected communities, monitor enforcement of controls,” he said.
Akachukwu further said that the laboratory was working on projects that engender transformation in the nation, even in the area of agriculture.
According to him, if we have food sufficiency in this country, most of our problems can be solved. NAN

He added that the focus on agriculture was because most Nigerians practice farming at different scales.

The expert said that early detection and mitigation of pests, nutrient analysis could help farmers actualise improved yields and indirectly impact livelihood.

“Drone technology can mitigate disease infections, encourage smart farming where you will not be required to put in your physical strength.

“We have set our primary mandate to be agricultural drone development for assisting farmers in getting the necessary information to improve farm decision making and yield.

“The UAV is a dual purpose platform that can migrate from farmland mapping to general surveillance.

“As such we have been working on how payloads can be used to obtain high fidelity images that our security agencies can subscribe to in their fight against insurgency and criminality,” he said.

Akachukwu added that UAVs could monitor critical asset to achieve national security, reduce corruption, improve in revenue generation, monitor coast line and offshore assets.

According to him, the laboratory has been working on sub-system development and conducting in-house training to meet President Muhammadu Buhari’s approved Executive Order 005 of Promoting Indigenous Content.

He said that drone technology could bring positive revolution and was really feasible in the country because it had not been explored on a large scale. (NAN)

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