Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles are one of the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution. Originally used by the military, drones are used in various fields today. The commercial use of drones has been steadily increasing across the filming, agriculture, surveillance, mapping, and data collection fields since the lifting of their ban temporarily in Kenya. Importing or exporting drones as well as operating is only allowed with the approval of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).
Certified drone technology experts and enthusiasts are expected to take part in the country’s first ever Drone Tech and Data Expo organized by Drone Space Kenya, KCCA and Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) this 29th May to 4th June 2022.
The expo will kick off with a two-day conference at the KICC on the 30th & 31st May which will then be followed by the Last Mile Medical Delivery exercise at the Konza Smart City Drone Corridor from 1st – 4th June, 2022
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru is among the keynote speakers at the conference which will be held under the theme; The Role of Drones and Data In Spurring Economic Growth in Kenya and the 4th Industrial Revolution in Africa.
Drone Space Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Tony Mwangi said, “The lack of proper infrastructure and public transportation systems poses immense challenges to development in Kenya and Africa at large. Drones have proven efficient and more cost effective in leapfrogging the physical connectivity gap in Kenya,” adding that “drone technology can help deliver medical commodities such as vaccines, anti-venoms, blood as well as medical supplies in areas where there’s limited infrastructure.”
Teams of authorized drone manufactures and operators will have an opportunity to showcase their drone equipment and test their drones’ capability to deliver medicine during the drone validation exercise that will be held at the Konza Smart City in Machakos county.
Konza Technolopis Development Authority CEO John Tanui said, “As Konza Technopolis, we are glad to participate and support the Kenya Drone Week Expo which is anchored on innovation and technology development which are some of the key pillars in our development.
We see this sector as key in transforming our economy because it enables emerging solutions in the 4th industrial revolution.”
Participants in the exercise will be validated on various aspects including speed, flight accuracy and safety as well as the uniqueness of their drone designs. The participants will be tasked to explore multiple concepts of drone operation and data exchange across a designated 24 kilometer flight-zone within the expansive Konza landscape.
“This event is an opportunity to share knowledge on the role drones can play in Kenya. As a country, we do not want to be left behind and the Ministry of Innovation & ICT is keen to deploy these technologies for the benefit of all Kenyans.” Said Jerome Ochien’g, Principal Secretary Ministry of ICT & Innovation.
More than 350 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) pilots have been issued with remote pilot licenses after receiving drone operation training from KCAA approved institutions.
Current Drone Laws in Kenya
As mentioned, the above is regulated by KCCA. Only Kenyan citizens are allowed to operate drones after registering the device on https://kcaa.or.ke/ . Drones are categorized in three classes; low (A) medium (B) or high risk (C). A Remote Pilot License is necessary for flights in categories B and C. In category A, registration, a permit certificate, compliance with the following rules, and safety distances are sufficient