September 9, 2022
Reliable Robotics, which is developing autonomous aircraft systems, has announced a strategic collaboration with Astral Aviation, a Kenya-based airline, with the goal of enhancing aviation safety and increasing air cargo connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa. The two companies will work together to develop operational, regulatory and business plans to launch automated aircraft operations in the region.
The company is also working with the FAA to certify its automation system on the Cessna 208 Caravan, in order to begin commercial cargo operations in the U.S. The collaboration with Astral Aviation will enable the subsequent international expansion into Africa, where the Caravan is an essential utility aircraft with nearly 350 currently operating across the continent, Reliable Robotics said.
“We are preparing for explosive growth in regional trade and the need to transport significantly more air cargo across Africa,” said Sanjeev Gadhia, founder and CEO of Astral Aviation. “Automation will enable us to serve more routes. We look forward to working with Reliable to safely transport larger payloads over longer distances at lower cost with remotely operated aircraft.”
The company said the widespread adoption of mobile technologies has enabled e-commerce to leapfrog legacy banking, communications and retail infrastructure, and is expected to grow to half a billion users by 2025. Expanding the air cargo network is critical to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in a continent with landlocked countries, busy ports, poor road networks, sparse transportation infrastructure, and an average distance between major cities of 4,100 kilometers.
“The African aviation sector is primed for change and automated aircraft can be part of the solution to the market’s constraints,” said Robert Rose, co-founder and CEO at Reliable Robotics. “Astral has deep experience operating in Africa, and we share a vision for how automation and remotely piloted aircraft can help the region reach its economic potential with safer, more flexible and cost-efficient air transport.”
For more details on Reliable Robotics and its automated aircraft operations, visit its website here.