Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a hot button issue as of late


CLast week while watching behind the scenes video of one of East Africans most coveted male artists Diamond Platnumz, I remember the excitement we had on noticing the different audio visual equipment employed into making the new hit Unanipenda a success.

I must admit that amidst all the watching and ogling at the beautiful couple and their nearly six months old baby girl Princess Tiffah -who is already an internet sensation in the region – one thing that caught all our eyes were the unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs) in the shoot.

For most Kenyans, especially the ones that attend outdoor social parties, these are now common and mostly referred to as drones. There is something about this technology that tells me that in near future, it is going to be the next big thing as it mutates into intuitive technology with more features and better performance. This was seen in the recently held Consumer Electronic Show (CES) held in Las Vegas this month, where drones had a disruptive effect with many new vendors entering the market, including many low-price players from the global market.

Although critics have raised concerns about performance of UAVs saying they should be able to demonstrate use beyond photography and videography, there has been instances when UAVs have proved that they are efficient. Drones have been pressed into service to help event organizers and police in crowd management, traffic management on the highways and traffic regulation on the normally congested areas aside from parking management during big functions or just during normal days.

In 2016 and beyond, it will be key for electronic companies to look into designing high-confidence unmanned automated systems that are consumer-centric. National and international organizations, agencies, industry, military and civilian authorities are working towards defining roadmaps of UAVs expectations, technical requirements and standards that are prerequisite to their full utilization, as well as legal, policy and ethical issues.

The next generation of UAVs is expected to be used for a wide spectrum of civilian and public domain applications. Challenges to be faced and overcome include, among others, challenges related to policies, procedures, regulations, safety, risk analysis assessment, airworthiness, operational constraints, standardization and frequency management, all of paramount importance, which, coupled with smart technology, ‘environmentally friendly’ cutting edge responsive technology which will pave the way towards full integration of UAVs with manned innovative compatibility into the respective usage airspace.

With so much to focus on, electronics companies in Kenya especially the ones that exhibited at CES like LG Electronics, must capitalize on its reputation for consumer-centric innovation and contrast itself from companies that innovate merely for the sake of producing something new. This is an important distinction to make because innovation succeeds when it connects with users enhanced operational convenience.

LG has introduced many innovative gadgets and appliances in the Kenyan market that are transformative and meet these requirements. As they say, if history is something to go by, it goes without mentioning that their unmanned automated vehicle will be one of the superior systems in the market. Here at the office, we all can’t wait to buy our first drone from LG Electronics that we will use to observe people at the many parties that we attend. We are very much excited to watch this new trend grow!