The government of Malawi in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are inviting businesses, universities, and individuals to apply and test a potential use case at the world's first drone test corridor in Malawi. Plans for the world's first dedicated humanitarian air corridor for drones in Malawi were announced in 2016.
The Drone Corridor will be used to test three key areas critical for the delivery of humanitarian aid:
Imagery: generating and analyzing aerial images for development and during humanitarian crises, including for situation monitoring in floods and earthquakes.
Connectivity: exploring the possibility for drones to extend Wi-Fi or cell phone signals across difficult terrain, particularly in emergency settings.
Transport: delivery of small low weight supplies such as emergency medical supplies, vaccines and samples for laboratory diagnosis, including for HIV testing.
The Drone Corridor was opened by Malawi’s Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango and Johannes Wedenig, UNICEF's Malawi Representative, during the month of June in 2017. It is the world's largest drone test area with over 5,000 square km – and allowing operations up to 400 m above ground level.
"The corridor is designed to provide a controlled platform for the private sector, universities, and other partners to explore how drones can be used in scenarios that will benefit marginalized communities," said UNICEF in a statement announcing a call for applications from businesses, universities and individuals.
All data generated by the drone flights will be used to inform the Government of Malawi’s plans for the use of drones in multiple humanitarian scenarios.
"This is particularly important due to frequent flooding in some areas of Malawi and challenges in transport infrastructure," UNICEF explained in the statement.
The corridor will run for a period of approximately 1 to 2 years and interested businesses, universities and individuals may apply on a rolling basis.
If you are interested, please apply here.
Participation in the Drone Corridor must be entirely self-funded participants will also be required to teach a workshop for local Malawian entrepreneurs and engineers about drone technology.