loader image

Commercial drones : South Africa stands out from the crowd

Home > Blog > Technology > Commercial drones : South Africa stands out from the crowd

Commercial drones : South Africa stands out from the crowd

Market player QP Drone Tech affirms that the drone sector in South Africa has developed remarkably over the last three years. Commercial drones are increasingly being used in a variety of industries.

QP Drone Tech: Startup at the cutting edge of drone technology

According to the company, although South Africa has seen the popularity of drones increase over the years, their use was previously limited to the agricultural, mining and construction sectors, as well as leisure activities. However, the advent of COVID-19 has propelled drone deployment. Service providers and manufacturers are establishing themselves locally, against a backdrop of growing demand for remotely piloted aircraft.

QP Drone Tech offers commercial drone services such as mapping, inspection, disaster management and to specialist companies in a wide range of industries, including:

  • Mining
  • Critical infrastructure Security
  • Agriculture

The Johannesburg-based company also offers training in the use of drones, robotics and other technologies to unemployed youth and students. Queen Ndlovu, CEO and founder of QP Drone Tech, says: « Although drones are still in their infancy, they are increasingly being used for a multitude of applications in South Africa, fueling job creation in the sector ».

Drone market in South Africa

« The drone market in South Africa has grown substantially in recent years. It would appear that South Africa is the largest user of drone technology in Africa », explains Ndlovu.

The mining sector is the biggest user of drone technology for safety, inventory monitoring and 3D modeling. This is followed by the film and entertainment industry, as well as the agricultural sector for precision farming. Other applications include the use of drones for disaster preparedness, in response to climate change.

According to research firm Industry ARC, the South African market for small drones is growing rapidly and is expected to reach 134.5 million USD by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 22.35 % between 2020 and 2025.

The growth of the local mining industry, the development of more accurate drone technology and the presence of dominant drone hardware players are among the factors driving market growth. Some local South African government departments have been quick to recognize the benefits of using drones.

The Department of Infrastructure Development has been using unmanned drones to monitor its infrastructure projects in development corridors in the Gauteng urban area since 2018. The Western Cape government claims that its emergency medical services drone project has helped save many lives since its launch in 2020.

Achieving uniform regulation of drone use in Africa

Although South Africa was the first African country to approve drone regulations, it does not rank highly in the Drone readiness Index. Its indicates that there is still regulatory work to be done for safe and scalable advanced drone operations.

Debates are also underway as to whether regulations are too restrictive and need to be improved. In other parts of the continent, in Rwanda and Kenya for example, drones have been used in recent years to deliver blood and medical supplies to doctors in rural areas. Botswana, Sudan, Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire use medium-sized tactical drones in their military fleets.

The growing demand for drones in South Africa has prompted South Africa Flying Labs to collaborate with QP Drone Tech to organize regular drone-focused workshops and training programs. According to Ndlovu, the anticipated growth of the local drone market would be impossible to achieve without the skills needed to operate a drone.

Share this article
Share this Article:
Join our newsletter

Join the latest releases and tips, interesting articles, and exclusive interviews in your inbox every week.