Aeronautical Solutions Lauches Botswana-Made Drone

Last week, Aeronautical Solutions revealed a breakthrough in the development of aeronautical technology and innovation in Botswana by demonstrating a locally developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone. The project was funded by Botswana Innovation Fund (BIF), working closely with Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub’s (BDIH) partners and network to ensure progress of the project. 

Speaking at the flight demonstration held at the Matsieng Airstrip in Rasesa, the co-founder and Managing Director of Aeronautical Solutions, Thero Matenge gave a description of the UAV as well as the capabilities of the UAV, that they named Shepherd V1 (Version 1). 

“The Shepherd V1 is piloted by a petrol engine and is a long-range and long-endurance UAV. Currently, it has the capacity to fly within a 15km radius and this is determined by its connection to the transmitter but the drone itself has the capacity to fly for longer distances when connected to the satellite. We have localized some of the technology and developed a system that allows us to operate the drone similarly to an aircraft. The applications of the drone are diverse. It can be used in anti-poaching exercises, for security and surveillance purposes and as a resource for agricultural and farm management. We have also developed a flight training programme to expose young children to the aeronautical industry.” Explained Mr. Matenge. 

From hobbiests to innovators, the two brothers, Thero and Tiroyaone Matenge started Aeronautical Solutions in 2016 which grew out of their joint passion for flying machines. The company has developed the UAV to cater to various needs, with the capacity to adapt to different cameras and sensing technologies in an effort to collect data. 

BIF Coordinator, Sithembile Dingake and BDIH Board member, Thabo Molefe both implored Batswana and the delegates to support and buy the technology so it can grow further and be used in markets outside of Botswana. 

“We have seen incremental innovation in what Aeronautical Solutions has done and you can see there are more opportunities to advance the technology in the potential dimensions the drone can do. Through the funding from BIF and the additional resources provided by BDIH, we have seen this project take flight to where it is now and we are committed to seeing it become a pioneer and sustainable player in the local aeronautical industry. We encourage Batswana to also support and prevent these innovations from dying. We should be consumers of our own innovations,” said Dingake. 

“This is a national innovation and we implore Batswana, the security services and other authorities to buy this innovation. Your support can springboard these innovations to go beyond the borders of Botswana,” stated Molefe. 

Botswana Innovation Fund was created to promote innovation by providing seed and early-stage funding to companies and organisations registered with Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub. The Fund also encourages transfer skills to citizens by providing cash grants to be used for institutional training and on-the-job training programmes. 

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