The Malawi government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have launched an air corridor to test unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) also known as drones for humanitarian and developmental use.
First in Africa and one of the first in the world, the 40km corridor will be fully operational by April 2017 and in line with the Malawi Department of Civil Aviation’s new regulatory framework.
“The corridor is designed to provide a controlled platform for the private sector, universities, and other partners to explore how UAS can be used to help deliver services that will benefit communities,” UNICEF explained in a statement.
The corridor is designed to provide a controlled platform for the private sector, universities, and other partners to explore how UAS can be used to help deliver services that will benefit communities.
Malawi’s Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango expressed satisfaction with the corridor expected to help in controlling the effects of drought and flooding.
“Malawi has over the past years faced serious droughts and flooding. The launch of the UAS testing corridor is particularly important to support transportation and data collection where land transport infrastructure is either not feasible or difficult during emergencies,” he said.
The launch of the test corridor comes after a pilot project in March this year which transported dried blood samples for early infant diagnosis of HIV.