BIUST and mileage group launch drone assembly plant

Kitso Ramono

Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) in partnership with Mileage group officially on Wednesday launched the state of the art Drone Assembly and testing centre station housed on the University Campus.

The Assembly follows the launch of the Drone Technology Centre in 2020, by Mileage Group which specializes in professional research, development, and manufacturing of parts as well as solution provision, repair services, and training for drones in Gaborone.

Four years down the line, Mileage group has in partnership with BIUST opened a drone assembly and testing station, which is set to serve as a hub for assembling and testing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, before being absorbed by the market, which will be done by students and staff at BIUST under the guidance of the mileage group personnel.

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BIUST and mileage group launch drone assembly plant
Hon. Tsogwane Assemblying one of the drones in the centre

Mileage Group Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Miles Nan revealed that Botswana’s unique geographical position underscores the vital importance of drone technology, where the applications of drones are vast and varied, encompassing agricultural uses, mining, energy, security, wildlife conservation, and border control amongst others.

“Our commitment extends to developing products suited to Botswana’s unique landscape and needs—be it wildlife conservation, the vast mining areas, or the specific characteristics of our shrub land. In exploring the diverse applications of drones, from managing rural communications to city safety, DTC is at the forefront of enhancing operational efficiency and safety at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods,” said Nan.

Nan says the local assembly of drones does not only enhance the technological infrastructure but also cultivates talent and generates employment opportunities and establishes Botswana as a potential hub for drone technology in Africa.

“We are proud to stand with South Africa, Nigeria, and Morocco, marking Botswana as the fourth country on the African continent to possess both research and development capabilities as well as assembly facilities for drones,” he added.

Meanwhile the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, who was the guest of Honor at the launch, revealed that drone technology plays a vital role in driving economic development through improved efficiency and real time and reliable data collection and analysis.

BIUST and mileage group launch drone assembly plant
Vice President Tsogwane Officially Opening the Drone Assembly and testing centre

“It can help us to make informed and strategic decisions in many aspects of our lives, especially in the sectors such as health, transportation, infrastructure development and maintenance, disaster response and emergency services as well as agriculture and tourism,” said Tsogwane.

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For his part BIUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo revealed that the Drone assembly and Testing Centre will be beneficial to BIUST students and staff who will be interested in drone technology and its uses.

“Our students also stand to benefit a great deal from this installation within our campus. We hope that our students will be stimulated to take up drone technology as an area of academic interest and investigation. They will have access to various opportunities presented by this facility including internships, guided development of research projects and hands-on experience in drone technology. Members of faculty will also benefit from faculty training and research opportunities, which we expect to come because of this facility,” said the Vice Chancellor.

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