About Contrail Robotics
Contrail Robotics is an engineering firm that specializes in aeronautics, robotics, computing, and electronics. We conduct research on autonomous systems through the Autonomous Systems Research team (ASR). ASR is a multidisciplinary research group specializing in engineering research and its use in tackling conservation, humanitarian and other issues. We aim to promote sustainable, resilient communities by providing educational resources related to the use of technology in support of social and environmental advancement, and by designing and developing technological solutions appropriately adopted to meet the challenge being met.
ASR engages the community through ASR club STEM that accepts primary, secondary and college students to show correlation on what they learn with what goes on in academia.
What makes it innovative?
ASR conducts research on systems that don’t require human intervention in their operation, i.e autonomous systems. This started as a way to automate operations of remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS) or drone with a view to remove the operator from the equation. Some research has spilled off into other projects including a navigational and guidance device for the blind, and assistive computer that uses speech.
We are currently working on an aerial plant and atmospheric sounding system (A-PLASS or simply A+) to monitor climatic changes and form the basis of an early warning system for farmers and conservationists.
We also have autonomous ambulances under design and development, and are honoured to be the only African team in the Australian UAV Medical Express 2016.
Our research results are commercialized through Contrail Robotics, and thus far the latter has developed autonomous drones for various purposes.
Our primary innovative edge is use of local materials and process in design and fabrication of our products. All assemblies are 100% Made in Kenya, with electronics being sourced from the U.S.
Next steps for ASR?
I would be eager to learn about market opportunities for civilian drones in Kenya and Africa as a whole. The market potential is large but is currently stifled by a lack of proper legislation on the area. I would also be eager to learn of possible collaborations and/or partnerships in development and commercialization of our products.
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