Varsity Receives Drones from JICA to Boost Geospatial Research

Dr. Aoki (left) hands over one of the drones to Prof. Kinyua (right).

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through the Africa-ai-Japan project has handed over two ultra-modern drones to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) to enhance the university’s geospatial research capacity.

The high-tech drones are equipped with special features such as; geo-mapping and geo-referencing, creating high-resolution images and detailed 3D models of areas of research interest of up to millimeter levels of accuracy.

While receiving the drones on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi Friday, September 1, 2021, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. Robert Kinyua, expressed his gratitude to JICA saying, the drones will be instrumental in both training of students and obtaining research data which has previously been a challenge in the University.

Prof. Kinyua urged researchers to take full advantage of the drones to conduct extensive research adding that the drones will be availed to all departments that may require the use of the drones.

He challenged the University engineers to work together to innovate local drones which can be commercialized and utilized by researchers.

“I challenge our engineers to start thinking of ways of innovating our own drones which can also be used for research and training of students,” said Prof. Kinyua.

Dr. Shohei Aoki who handed over the drones to the University on behalf of JICA stated that Africa-ai-Japan project is keen on supporting research activities among staff and students.

GEGIS staff receive demonstration from trainers on how the drone operates

He said the drones can be used to collect a wide range of data such as mapping of garbage damping sites, surveillance, mapping of crop and forests among others.

Dr. Aoki said, drone technology is particularly prominent in agricultural sector and can be used to address agricultural challenges using real time data.

The Chairperson of Geomatic Engineering and Geospatial Information Systems (GEGIS) Department, Dr. Mercy Mwaniki, stated that training has already been conducted to University’s technicians on how to operate the high-tech equipment.

Dr. Mwaniki expressed her gratitude to Africa-ai-Japan project for handing over the drones saying it will be beneficial to her department.

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