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Police take to drone to fight Covid-19 | 17 December 2020

Source: Seychelles Nation Newpaper

Three police officers are attending a first phase of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) training for Covid-19 surveillance at the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation (Nisti), La Fontaine Holiday Apartment, Bel Ombre.

The aim of the two-day training is to provide the officers – namely Corporal Julinio Nourrice from the La Digue Police Station, Private Trevor Rose from the Central Police Station and Private Yannick Emmanuel from the Anse Royal Police station – with knowledge and skills needed to safely operate a UAV to fight Covid-19.

The training is being held under the set regulations of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA).

Dubbed as the ‘UAV for Covid-19 Surveillance Project’, the training is being organised by Nisti in collaboration with the Seychelles Police, the Seychelles Air Force and the Seychelles Coast Guard.

It was launched yesterday by the chief executive of Nisti, Xavier Estico, in the presence of the deputy Commissioner of Police Ted Barbe, deputy Commander of SAF, Captain Archille Uzice, Dr Ralph Etienne-Cummings of John Hopkins University, USA, Nisti staff and other representatives connected with the training.

During the launch of the training, a Sharinga Drone model – DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise (Dual) equipped with smart controller, thermal camera, obstacle sensing, speaker and lighting system among other features, was unboxed and donated to deputy Commissioner Barbe by Mr Estico. It will be used for the training of the three police officers and eventually for police official duties.

The drone, purchased from the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) has cost $4000.

In his address, Mr Estico said that Nisti initiated the drone project under its STEM programme, which aims at introducing frontier technologies to our youth in schools.

“However, with the health safety challenges we are presented with due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to be more engaging beyond our existing collaboration with the Public Health Authority in putting in place an end-to-end contact tracing solution for Covid-19,” Mr Estico said, noting that the first option was to extend Nisti’s Robotics project to the surveillance programme but decided later to use drone technology as a faster and more effective mean to our local context.

Deputy Police Commissioner Barbe said that it was a privilege for the police to own its first drone which will assist the officers in crowd control with regard to the fight against Covid-19.

Furthermore, the drone will assist the police in traffic control, search and rescue, police chase among other duties.

He thanked Nisti for the donation and added that the police force will definitely in the future acquire more drones to assist them in their duties on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.

While Nisti is providing the digital skills in preparation for the field training, the three police officers have benefitted from the expertise of two Seychelles Air Force officers for their drone simulation training session which ends today.

The more technical training sessions will be held as from January 12, 2021 for fourteen days.

The accompanying photos show some highlights of the launch ceremony yesterday.



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