Nisti shares opinions on drone technology | 20 April 2018
Source: Seychelles Nation Newspaper
A representative of the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation (Nisti), among other public/private organisations, participated in the training and as the local body responsible for technology transfer, adaptation and adoption, Nisti shares its own knowledge and opinions about drone technology in Seychelles.
Q: What is a drone and what are its main uses?
A: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) which includes a UAV, a ground-based controller and a system of communication between the two. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by on-board computers.
Compared to manned aircraft, UAVs were originally used for missions too dull, dirty or dangerous for humans. While they originated mostly in military applications, their use is rapidly expanding into many areas, such as commercial, scientific, recreational, agricultural, and other applications, e.g. policing, peacekeeping, surveillance, product deliveries, aerial photography, agriculture, smuggling and drone racing.
Q: What is Nisti’s opinion about the use of drone technology?
A: Nisti, whose mandate includes technology transfer, adaptation and adoption, supports the use of drones for our socio-economic development. While drones may have a wide array of applications, in the context of Seychelles, it is important that this technology is used in the most humane manner. As aforementioned, the use of drones started in the military field and is increasingly used as a deadly weapon in modern warfare. While it should not be ruled out of its military usage in Seychelles, at this point in time, it is important to have peaceful use of this technology within the regulatory framework of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA).
Nisti is ready to work across all sectors and programmes in a collaborative manner in introducing drone technology in Seychelles. Currently a number of desktop research work has been done on the subject and is ready to be shared with interested organisations.
Q: What are the benefits and disadvantages of using drones in Seychelles?
A: In our local context, drone technology is very important to our socio-economic development. To date, despite the fact that there are efforts being made in the usage of drones, there are many more opportunities for this technology, particularly in the following fields: forestry, agriculture, crime prevention and detection, marine research, geospatial science, disaster and emergency management, civil engineering, entertainment, public health, maritime security and others.
In terms of the disadvantages of the use of drones, the issue of privacy has always been at the forefront. Due to our relatively small land mass and our demographic conditions, drone overflights over private and residential areas may be of a concern. On the technical front, it demands significant investment in capacity-building, infrastructure and maintenance. Drone operations demand specialised equipment and highly-skilled personnel. Despite the SCAA’s regulatory framework for drone operation, acts of negligence may present a serious safety issue.
Q: What laws are currently in place for use of drones in Seychelles and what is Nisti’s opinion of these?
A: Early in April 2017, SCAA met drone operators to raise awareness of new rules and regulations to be put in place for flying drones in Seychelles. Every drone operator will have to register to be able to use their drones. The main reason for the regulations is to monitor all the UAS operators and to protect all aircraft. Currently, SCAA has remote pilot aircraft operation regulations on its website.
It is important to have necessary regulations in place in order to safely make use of the drone technology. The regulatory and policy framework should be reviewed periodically, as UAS operation increases.
Q: What can be done to mitigate some of the issues that can arise from the use of drones in Seychelles?
A: To mitigate the issues related to the use of drones in Seychelles, it is important that the technology is introduced in a progressive and organised manner with the adequate regulatory framework in place. This also relates to privacy, which is a main concern. It is important that there is a general education and sensitisation programme on this technology. For the sustainable use of this technology, there is a need for an institutional framework to be reinforced and for policies as well as funding to be put in place beyond that of the regulatory framework for safety. Drone operation needs a new innovation eco-system for its sustainable use to enhance our socio-economic transformation. The successful development of this innovation eco-system will depend on close collaboration between national stakeholders and actors.