A Senegal man is attempting to prove he can build and sell drones, or unpiloted aircraft, in his home country.
Mamadou Wade Diop has experience working with drones in the photography and health industries. Diop, who calls himself Dr. Drone on social media, can also fix drones. In fact, he is one of the few people in Senegal’s capital Dakar who can repair them.
But recently, he decided to take his knowledge of the devices a step further. He is trying to build a drone made entirely in Senegal.
Diop’s goal is to use local materials and skilled workers in Senegal to make the drones. However, not all of the necessary materials are available right now. But Diop told VOA he wants to prove that it is possible to make the technology in his home country.
Diop says he has been able to communicate with other drone makers in France and China through the internet. He has learned about their experiences to help him progress with his home-grown drone project.
Diop plans to build his first locally-produced drone for use in the health industry. The drone will be designed to spread chemicals to prevent mosquito reproduction. Mosquitoes can carry and spread serious diseases.
One of the materials needed for Diop’s drone is a carbon fiber that is not available in Senegal. He says he ordered the material from China, but then worked with local iron workers to shape the pieces for his drone. He got aluminum from a broken refrigerator to form part of the body for his drone.
Mamadou Diallo is the owner of a photography shop who often uses Diop’s drone services. Diallo said there is not a large market for drones in Senegal right now. But, he said demand for the flyers is rising.
Diallo says he wants to support Diop’s efforts to create the first “Made in Senegal” drone. Diop welcomes the help, saying it is important to start making drones locally before foreign companies come in and begin selling them at much higher prices.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Esha Sarai reported this story for VOA News. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
photography – n. the art, process, or job of taking pictures with a camera
refrigerator – n. a device used to keep things (such as food and drinks) cold