Drones are often used by the military to wage wars, with headlines about drone attacks launched by the US to combat militant organizations in Somalia and Libya. Drones are not only used for combat purposes, though. The United Nations are keeping peace and saving lines by using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to maintain peacekeeping operations and secure service lines and deliver medical equipment in Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic of Congo.
Drones provide aerial surveillance at low cost, aiding law enforcement to surveil and discover irregular and illegal activities. A Recent discovery was made when drone surveillance helped uncover illegal activities that violated both pandemic curfews and national laws as reported by indiawest.com. In Africa, security can be increased for camps, monitoring militant groups, escorting convoys, and identifying and tracking armed groups. Search capabilities are greatly improved to support rescue operations in remote parts.
Old Technology Getting Widespread Adoption
Reconnaissance UAVs were used prominently by the US during the Vietnam War in the 70s, to survey regions and aid in strategic planning. After the Vietnam War, other countries outside the US started experimenting with UAVs. During this time UAVs started being used to not only observe but also drop bombs and propaganda intended for psychological warfare. Since the 70s, the technology has been refined, allowing drones to fly at higher altitudes and with enhanced endurance. Solar power has been effectively implemented in long flight drones to deal with the fuel problem. Nowadays, drones have many functions ranging from carrying out search operations, monitoring climate change, filming, photography, and deliveries.
United Nations Utilizing Modern Drone Technology
In many countries in Africa, dirt roads make it difficult to deliver medical supplies to patients in time or get, delivery, and test blood samples before they expire. Floods have had a devastating effect on many countries this year, cutting off supply routes and roads. In these scenarios, drones can save lives by effectively traveling in the airspace and utilizing high definition cameras that transmit images to the command center where the drones are operated from.
Roughly 400,000 people die from Malaria every year; hundreds of millions of malaria cases are reported every year. Drones have efficiently been used to survey land areas to identify mosquito breeding sites.
Most children in Africa that have HIV acquired the disease from their mothers, diagnosing and giving treatments to infants with HIV is crucial for survival. To diagnose HIV, blood samples of newborn babies need to be taken, rushed to laboratories for testing, and then flown back fast.
A speedy diagnosis in rural areas is only possible through drones. The communication systems used between laboratories, clinics, and drones are simple but effective. Software systems would automatically send an SMS or WhatsApp message to the clinic when the drone is approaching, informing the recipient to go outside. As the drone approaches the target, it drops in altitude, ejects the delivery box which subsequently floats to the ground with a small parachute. The drone then returns back to the command center and is prepped for future flights.
Drones are really making a difference in Africa in a positive way. Before drones, it could take up to 10 hours to get medication. Now drones can take off on-demand and have a blood sample or medication delivered in under one hour.