Drones providing valuable skills to SA children


Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are being used by athletes and coaches to improve performance and by the media to enhance coverage of sporting events.

This was one of the topics discussed at the Drones and Digital Aviation Conference 2019, held at Emperors Palace Convention Centre between 28 and 29 November. It centred on drone integration with agriculture, construction, environmental, public service, public safety and security industries.

In terms of public service, Simon Robinson, the founder of Inspire Africa presented on, “Drones and media coverage in sport, film and education”. Robinson began by explaining that drones are providing athletes and coaches with new perspectives they can use to improve performance. Coaches are able to see the game, the team’s shape and positioning from a different perspective and fast-moving players can be tracked by a drone from different angles, providing a wealth of useful data for a coach. In addition, UAVs capture entire races for spectators as well as provide event security. Drones are not only improving sports but are also growing as an e-sport.

From a global market perspective, currently around the globe there are 201 million e-sports enthusiasts with e-sports generating revenue around $1096.1 million. In terms of revenue growth, Robinson predicts the e-sports revenue to reach $1789.9 million by 2022. He quoted Drone Industry Insights in stating that most jobs involved with drones are currently with platform manufacturers, with software and services following. Drones are used across Africa, from North Africa where Djibouti are using drones to survey the Port of Djibouti following floods to South Africa where drones are used in the mining, oil and gas industries.

This context of the developing drone market in the world provides a backdrop for Inspire Africa’s education project, which is teaching kids at schools to code, build and fly their own drones at schools across the country. The project is called, “S.T.E.A.M” meaning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) and for the Department of Education, Inspire Africa is providing an introduction to robotics and coding as well as vocational subject choices. Inspire Africa is teaching children an after-hours syllabus that gives students skills in computer science, programming, coding, building and coordination. Robinson concluded with the consideration that once qualified as a drone pilot, there are multiple career paths to pursue with many more under creation in the fourth industrial revolution.Dron