The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) through the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) has donated 13 mini drones to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) to aid in collecting real time aerial data for research purposes and training students in the fields of Geoscience and Remote Sensing.
The drones were handed over to the University by Anthony Vodacek, who is a senior member of IEEE and Professor of Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
Prof. Vodacek visited the University to conduct a capacity building workshop for researchers on Integrating Sensing System on Aerial Drones for Environmental Monitoring.
The three-day workshop which was held between September 6-8, 2021, focused on upskilling researchers with knowledge on designing and integrating sensor circuits targeting certain applications including water monitoring, biomass monitoring, developing vertical profiles of atmospheric parameters, urban studies and biodiversity studies.
The workshop attracted over 50 local and international researchers that included post-graduate and undergraduate students from Kenya, Cameroon and Nigeria as well as representatives from the Kenyan Cargo Drone Company, Swift Lab.
Speaking during the opening ceremony on Monday, September 6, 2021, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, lauded the workshop organizers saying it will be beneficial to several University’s programmes.
“This workshop is very critical to several departmental programmes, namely; BSc Control and Instrumentation, BSc Physics, BSc Geophysics, BSc Renewable Energy and Environmental Physics, MSc Physics, Msc Applied Geophysics and PhD in Physics of this University,” said Prof. Ngumi.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Principal of the College of Human Resource and Entrepreneurship Development, Prof. Elegwa Mukulu, the Vice Chancellor expressed her gratitude to sponsors and facilitators of the workshop noting, they have played a key role in modelling the intellectual landscape of Remote Sensing in the various fields of Science and Technology.
While interacting with Prof. Vodacek during the last day of the workshop, the Vice Chancellor said, JKUAT is keen to partner with RIT on Geoscience and Remote Sensing.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. Robert Kinyua, who also attended the opening ceremony, thanked both IEEE-GRSS for sponsoring the workshop and Prof. Vodacek for leading the training.
Prof. Kinyua urged the post-graduate students to take a great interest in the training for it would be beneficial to their careers as researchers.
On his part, the Principal, College of Pure and Applied Sciences, Prof. George Thiong’o, was optimistic that at the end of the workshop, the Physics Department will become a leader in space physics and environmental science.
He pledged to continue supporting such workshops as part of the efforts aimed at pushing the University to be a Center of Excellence in Imaging Science.
The workshop was organized by the Physics Department, led by Dr. Calvine Ominde and sponsored by IEEE through the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society.