UAV‘ll aid healthcare delivery, digital economy in Nigeria — Professor 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, Professor Abiodun Musa Aibinu, has stated that appropriate deployment of UAV would assist in healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

He also stated that equally important, UAV would accelerate the nation’s drive towards digital economy through prompt transport delivery and payment system via UAV with onboard POS system, cashless payment and enhanced data transmission.

The professor of Mechatronics Engineering from the Federal University of Technology,(FUT) Minna, made this disclosure in Minna, the Niger state capital  while speaking on the level of preparedness put in place by the Local Organizing Committee(LOC) towards hosting a hitch-free event.

He said,  “the UAV competition is slated to commence on  Monday, November 23 to 26, in Kaduna with the theme: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Challenge 2020, ” pointing out  that effective adoption of UAV would help in the distribution of food, drugs and 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 further disclosed that the UAV Competition was conceived based on its numerous benefits and how it can be used to support government agencies in Nigeria to deliver effective healthcare service to the people in the light of the series of challenges posed by flood and other disaster related issues.

Further, the LOC Chairman stated that the competition would help to build a database of researchers with UAV skills in Nigeria, stressing 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.

On modalities for the event, Prof. Aibinu stated that interested participants were expected to log on to the event website www.uavcompetition.com.ng for registration which was still ongoing to provide vital details.

He added that the panel of experts would look at the submissions and invite the appropriate teams/persons whose submissions meet with the competition’s criteria for participation at the grand finale slated for Kaduna, Kaduna state stressing  that the LOC would provide free transportation, feeding and accommodation to each team of not more than three persons.

Prof. Abiodun Musa Aibinu further disclosed  that the star prize for the winner of the Competition is N6, 000, 000, second runners-up would get N3, 000, 000 while third runners-up would smile home with the sum of N2, 000, 000, hilighting, that there would be consolation prizes for other participants at the event.

In addition, he revealed  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.

Accordingly, he said, “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, discover 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”.

Engnr. Prof. Abiodun M.Aibinu ,  said,  “the event is coming at the right time in view of the litany of challenges bedeviling  the country in recent times due to flooding that washed away several farmlands and homes, thereby rendering thousands of people homeless”.

He also cited the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic as another area through which UAV can be used to distribute drugs and other essential items or palliatives, emphasizing that all these problems posed 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.

Meanwhile, Prof. Aibinu assured that these problems will be addressed, if such competition can be fully supported by government across all levels.

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