Reliable Robotics and Astral team up on autonomous flying

Reliable Robotics uncrewed Cessna 172. Source: Reliable Robotics

Autonomous aircraft firm Reliable Robotics and Kenya-based airline Astral Aviation have launched a new partnership they hope will increase the use of drones in sub-Saharan Africa.

The two companies said that through the partnership they will work together to develop operational, regulatory, and business plans to launch automated aircraft operations.

Reliable Robotics is working with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to certify its automation system on the Cessna 208 Caravan, and to begin commercial cargo operations in the US.

The partners said the collaboration will enable the subsequent international expansion into Africa where the Caravan is an essential utility aircraft with nearly 350 currently operating across the continent.

“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 chief executive, Astral Aviation. “Automation will enable us to serve more routes.”

Robert Rose, co-founder and chief executive, Reliable Robotics, added: “The African aviation sector is primed for change and automated aircraft can be part of the solution to the market’s constraints.

“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.”

The two partners pointed out that Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is growing at 4% per year and the adoption of mobile technologies is pushing e-commerce demand.

“Expanding the air cargo network is critical to GDP and e-commerce 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 km,” the partners said.

Reliable Robotics plans cargo airline for automated flights

Astral Aviation to operate first two Embraer E190F conversions

Reliable Robotics partnership seeks to advance autonomous aircraft


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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector. After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015. Contact me on [email protected]