•KCAA categorizes the operations of unmanned aircraft systems based on the risk posed by the type of operations.
•Category A of the unmanned aircraft is of low risk.
Hundreds of attendees at the fifth Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development annual conference were mesmerised by giant drones used for agricultural purposes.
One of the drones is used for mapping huge tracks of land while the other one is for spraying large areas with crops within a short time.
Under the theme 'earth observation services for resilient social systems, the three-day conference in Kasarani which started on Tuesday seeks to exchange ideas on the application of earth observation information and geospatial technologies for societal benefit.
Several technologies seeking to help the global community to beat some of the challenges such as floods and droughts are being showcased even as top scientists explore how earth observation technologies and services can improve community resilience.
The scientists are discussing agriculture and food distribution systems, early warning and disaster preparedness, geo-innovations in health, land administration and management systems, natural ecosystems and biodiversity conservation, smart and green cities, water resources and blue economy.
Unmanned aircraft systems technology is fast-growing but largely untapped in Africa.
Fahari Aviation which is a subsidiary of Kenya Airways is exhibiting several drones one of which is being used to map large tracks of land.
The company was founded in 2020.
Another drone is used to spray big chunks of farms.
Fahari aviation specializes in surveillance and aerial mapping, inspection and engineering works, emergency and rescue services, and agriculture and transportation services.
Fahari aviation General Manager Hawkins Musili said on Tuesday that they are planning to go regional next year with the services they offer.
Musili said they still have a challenge as other countries in the region do not have in place regulations.
Fahari aviation service line lead official for agriculture Dennis Ngei the use of unmanned aircraft systems in the industry unlocks a niche that seeks to improve the crop yield while reducing the impact of potential environmental risks.
He said they cover large portions of land within a short period, automating redundant processes in data collection, while offering a wider scope of available data to use, leading to an improved overall farming efficiency.
The Kenyan government through Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has developed regulations on the use of unmanned aircraft systems.
For issuance of an import permit, one has to part with Sh 3,000 while registration is Sh 3,000.
Issuance of temporary permit is Sh 20,000 while the initial issuance of remote Air Operator Certificate goes for Sh 80,000 among other charges.
KCAA categorizes the operations of unmanned aircraft systems based on the risk posed by the type of operations.
Category A of the unmanned aircraft is of low risk.
This category of operations poses low or minimal risk to the public, property and manned aviation.
Category B is those with medium risk/regulated lower risk to the public, property and manned aviation while category C is high risk.
This Category of operations poses a high risk to the safety of individuals, property and manned aviation.
KCAA can from time to time determine additional requirements and specifications for operations in each category.
According to KCAA, a person will be eligible to own an unmanned aircraft system if that person is a Kenyan citizen or resident in Kenya of a minimum age of 18 years; a body corporate; or a national government or county government.