“The first reaction from people to drones is always emotional,” says Ledgard, an outspoken advocate of drones as an answer to Africa’s transport challenges. “We need to develop them in a way that humans don’t feel threatened.”
So he’s taken to calling his drones “flying donkeys,” as if they’re merely airborne beasts of burden. It’s the sort of metaphor the British citizen polished as a novelist and journalist, including a decade as African correspondent for The Economist magazine.
Now Ledgard heads a nonprofit consortium of technicians, philanthropists and planners who think drones can overcome one of Africa’s steepest challenges: a lack of transportation infrastructure that stymies trade. Ledgard’s group envisions a massive fleet of autonomous, robotic ships carrying cargo through the air above roadless savannas, jungles, deserts and mountains.
And it isn’t a dream some 10 years out, says Ledgard, whose drones consortium is a spinoff of Afrotech, based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He says the group will have a test route in place this year to fly medicines among several villages. Ledgard calls it an initial line for humanitarian aid.
Welcome to drone day on the Adafruit blog. Every Monday we deliver the latest news, products and more from the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), quadcopter and drone communities. Drones can be used for video & photography (dronies), civil applications, policing, farming, firefighting, military and non-military security work, such as surveillance of pipelines. Previous posts can be found via the #drone tag and our drone / UAV categories.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.