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SAIEE Africa Research Journal

On-line version ISSN 1991-1696
Print version ISSN 0038-2221


MUGALA, Sheila N.; OKELLO, Dorothy K.  and  SERUGUNDA, Jonathan. Leveraging the Technology of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Developing Countries. SAIEE ARJ [online]. 2020, vol.111, n.4, pp.139-148. ISSN 1991-1696.

The technology of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) renders itself easily to a variety of applications because of their characteristics such as flexibility, quick deployment and cost effectiveness. Developing countries can harness UAV technology for humanitarian and development goals. This paper presents five interesting UAV applications for developing countries and these include disaster management, agriculture, delivery, surveillance of transmission lines and network coverage. UAVs aid the process of disaster management because they can be quickly deployed to take imagery which is used by rescue teams. They offer a cheap alternative to satellites and manned aircraft for agricultural mapping and management. Developing countries are faced with the major challenge of inadequate infrastructure which can be overcome by using UAVs to make especially emergency deliveries. UAVs are more effective at inspecting power transmission lines than manual techniques especially in developing countries where it is expected that the power transmission lines will span over tens of thousands of kilometres. Network coverage can be achieved cost effectively using UAVs for rural remote areas that are neglected by network operators because of their low economic return. This paper also discusses challenges that must be overcome to fully exploit UAV technology for the mentioned applications. Additionally, this paper presents interventions by African governments towards the development of UAV technology.

Keywords : agricultural UAV applications; disaster communications network; search and rescue; UAV delivery system; unmanned aerial vehicle.

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