Information from WeRobotics
A team of local experts in Zimbabwe formed and launched Zimbabwe Flying Labs, a technology and innovation hub working to solve social challenges and meet local needs through drones and robotics.
The group, led by Tawanda Chihambakwe, evolved from Chihambakwe’s “Drones for Good Network” project that aimed to enable drone pilots, technicians, and data scientists to connect, collaborate, learn, and grow drones through ethical approaches to data gathering, storing, and sharing.
Zimbabwe Flying Labs plans to work in three key areas, namely catalysing business, facilitating the drone and robotics ecosystem and developing local skills.
Catalysing business: The lab will help build the local drone industry through organising “Drones as a Service” incubation programmes that facilitate project opportunities and support local entrepreneurs. Their focus will be on agriculture, disaster mitigation and management, environment management, and healthcare delivery. The team has already trained students in using drones for disaster risk planning and post-disaster assessment and management with a local NGO.
Facilitating the drone and robotics ecosystem: Zimbabwe Flying Labs will work with innovators, manufacturers, service providers, academic institutions, NGOs, and the government to nurture the drones-for-social-good ecosystem. The team plans to form a nation-wide “Drones for Good” platform to connect professional drone pilots, drone data analysts, team leaders, and disaster professionals who are willing to assist local government and rescue workers in disaster management.
Developing local skills: The lab organises hands-on training for various drone platforms and use cases. They work with several partners to provide programmes like bootcamps for schools, drone pilot training, advanced drone operations and maintenance, advanced drone applications bootcamps, disaster preparedness, simulation training, and co-creation workshops for multi-stakeholder engagement. The team will also support already trained participants with expert advice on their projects.