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Astral Aerial Solutions, an affiliate of Astral Aviation, has sealed a deal with Japanese drone manufacturer Yamaha Motor Company to provide last mile air cargo delivery and crop spraying solutions in Kenya.
The deal, sealed at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) last week, will see Astral Aerial Solutions providing market entry support for the new Yamaha FAZER R G2 automated navigation unmanned aircraft (commonly known as "drones"), a high-end model developed for the industrial sector.
Astral Aerial Solutions is a drone start-up and aims to provide drone services in Africa for a variety of sectors including humanitarian cargo air transport, medical deliveries, aerial mapping and imagery, aerial surveillance and security, agriculture, oil and gas services, and emergency response, among others.
Speaking from Yokohama, Japan on the side line of the TICAD7 conference attended by Astral Aerial CEO & Founder, Mr. Sanjeev Gadhia said the firm will promote the use of the drones in the Kenya market for agricultural production services such as crop spraying, remote deliveries and overhead structural and civil engineering inspection functions.
First held in 1993, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is hosted by the Japanese Government in conjunction with the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Union Commission, and the World Bank.
While celebrating the Yamaha partnership, Gadhia said Astral Aviation has diversified its service offering to include drone services which are gaining market acceptance.
“At Astral Aerial Solutions, our mission is to create a drone-revolution in Africa by adapting technology and innovation to solve Africa’s problem so that it can leapfrog to the future," said Gadhia.
"Our association with Yamaha will provide us with the necessary impetus to scale our delivery capacity in the agricultural and civil engineering fields as the Fazer range of drones enjoy unrivalled and proven reputation in agricultural performance; a testament to Yamaha's commitment to remotely piloted helicopters and precision agriculture solutions."
In Kenya, Astral Aerial Solutions, will be introducing the FAZER R G2 drone model, which is a commercial drone for automated flight to uninhabited areas out of visual range, and delivers excellent performance through its maximum payload of 35kg, maximum altitude of 2,800m, and cruising range of 90km.
Last year, Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, received an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin using its FAZER remotely piloted helicopter for select commercial agricultural spraying operations.
The FAZER is Yamaha’s latest helicopter to receive FAA approval in the U.S., following the RMAX model, which is currently being operated in agricultural applications in California’s Napa Valley. Yamaha provides direct services for fungicide aerial application on wine grapes in Napa Valley and is now planning to introduce the FAZER into operation starting in June.
Yamaha has been operating remotely piloted helicopters for commercial purposes since 1991 and has amassed well over 2 million total flight hours. In Japan alone, there are over 2,500 Yamaha remotely piloted helicopters utilized in agricultural applications, carrying out pest control in 35% of Japan's rice fields.
Furthermore, remotely piloted helicopters are used in applications other than agriculture, such as academic research, disaster prevention, observation and survey work.