UAV Competition Will Accelerate Nigeria's Digital Economy Drive- Prof Aibinu
As the opening ceremony of the maiden edition of the 2020 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Competition for researchers and scientists in Nigeria draws closer, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the event, Engr. Prof. Abiodun Musa Aibinu, has stated that appropriate deployment of UAV would assist in healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
Equally important, he also stated that UAV would accelerate the nation’s drive towards digital economy through prompt transport delivery; as well as payment system via UAV with onboard POS system, cashless payment and enhanced data transmission.
The UAV competition is slated to commence on Monday, November 23 to Thursday, November 26, 2020 in Kaduna; with the theme: Unmmanned Aerial Vehicle Challenge 2020. Engr. Aibinu, an erudite professor of Mechatronics Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Minna; made this disclosure during an exclusive chat with selected journalists in Abuja to intimate them on the level of preparedness put in place by the LOC towards hosting a hitch-free event. He stated that effective adoption of UAV would help in the distribution of food, drugs; as well as other essential healthcare items during critical period in rural areas; or in congested locations in major cities, adding that UAV can also be used as part of telemedicine process.
He disclosed that the UAV competition was conceived based on its numerous benefits; adding that it can be used to support government agencies in Nigeria to deliver effective healthcare service to the people; especially in the light of the series of challenges posed by flood and other disaster related issues.
Further, the LOC Chairman disclosed that the competition would help build a database of researchers with UAV skills in Nigeria. He stated that after the event, the LOC would commence a well-structured mentorship programme for the winning teams; while ensuring they have access to hi-tech UAV equipment in order to enhance their skills.
Interested participants are expected to log onto the event website www.uavcompetition.com.ng for registration which is still ongoing to provide vital details. Prof. Aibinu added that the panel of experts would look at the submissions. Thereafter, it would invite the appropriate teams/persons whose submissions meet with the competition’s criteria for participation at the grand finale slated for Kaduna, Kaduna State. In addition, he revealed that the LOC would provide free transportation, feeding and accommodation to each team; noting that these would be not more than three persons per team.
Meanwhile, he revealed that the star prize for the winner of the competition is N6, 000, 000; first runners-up would get N3, 000, 000 while second runners-up would smile home with the sum of N2, 000, 000. He added that there would be consolation prizes for other participants at the event. In addition, he disclosed that the event would adhere strictly to the COVID-19 health protocols advised by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The don further mentioned that the LOC has made numerous contacts with researchers, corporate bodies and tertiary institutions in Nigeria to participate in the event as well as advertising the event in national dallies and some top-notch radio stations across the six geo-political zones of the country in order to reflect the national outlook of the event. The doyen of Mechatronics Engineering in Nigeria noted that the LOC is open to support from state governments; the private sector, heads of governmental organizations and individuals to make the event a success; while expressing hope that the event would pull top dignitaries in the country.
The event, the first of its kind in the country, will definitely change the narrative in the usage of UAVs to solve societal challenges; especially in the areas of healthcare delivery and improvement of health facilities, digital economy; as well as the discovery of the next generation of researchers who will champion UAV technological revolution in the country; while providing a platform for mentorship for the nation’s teeming youth.
He noted that the event is coming at the right time in view of the litany of challenges faced by the country in recent times due to flooding that washed away several farm lands and homes, thereby rendering thousands of people homeless.
Also, he cited the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic as another area through which UAV can be used to distribute drugs and other essential items or palliatives. All these problems pose a great challenge for the different government agencies saddled with the responsibilities of delivering healthcare services during natural or man-made hazards, disaster and risks management.
These problems will be addressed, Prof. Aibínú stated, if such competition can be fully supported by government across all levels.