NIGERIAN College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria says its focus on unmanned Aerial Vehicles( UAV) goes beyond lecturing on usage and application but that it is interested in research and development to help create jobs in this sphere.
Acting Head, Ground Department, NCAT and Association of African Training Organisation( AATO) Techincal Coordinator, Dr. Yakubu Ibrahim, almost 90%of drone enthusiasts are in it to fly drones and monitor but not much are looking at R&D.
Speaking at the 2nd edition Drone Technology Conference and Exhibition ( Drone Tecx 2020) holding at the NIGAV Centre in Lagos, Dr. Ibrahim said that with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) approval for its drone program, area like drone design, programming would be a key focus. READ ALSO: Olateru appeals for simplification of drone approval processes to aid development. READ MORE: Olateru appeals for simplification of drone approval processes to aid development
He said, “Almost 90% of participants are looking at how to fly a drone and do monitoring and other drone applications, but none are looking at research and development but how do you create jobs? You can create jobs by bringing people who do programming, we can look at people who design drones and as a training institution we can come up with a unit that can take care of those units by so doing not only fly drones but also go into the technology itself.”
On the approval of its training program, he said the training institute was still waiting on the NCAA but has so far we have developed three manuals for the drone program stressing that it wants to start training people so the nation can catch up with the rest of the world.
Dr. Ibrahim said, “So far we have developed three manuals for the drone program by for this country and we are waiting for NCAA to give us approval, it’s been two years. NCAT has trained about four instructors in the US and we are waiting for NCAA to give us approval.
“We have the training manual, once NCAA gives us approval, what we will do is develop the course materials in terms of power points, and manuals and others we need for training. Right now we cannot develop that until we see the approval.
On benefits of drones he said, “We want to start training people on drones and we feel we want to start catching up with the rest of the world and why are we doing this, drones are unmanned equipment you don’t need a pilot and you can do so many things with it. One of the benefits of drones it’s safe. One areas of safety: remember the Kaduna hijack? With drone technology we could have been monitoring the train lines and saved a lot of lives. Then there is border patrol, you see our borders are porous and one way we can use drones is to cover and protect our borders.
“In terms of agriculture, we can survey the land with drones in remote areas whereby you don’t have to be the one. We can use drones to navigate flooding, climate change for instance, it helps to have access places man cannot go,” he said.