The maiden 2020 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) challenge was held on Wednesday at the Jaji military cantonment, Kaduna, to display innovations of Nigerian youths in flying locally made prototype aircraft.
The challenge, which showcased locally made aircraft flown by the participants, grouped into three, was mainly to uncover hidden talents.
The competition was held in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Bureau, Defence Headquarters, and funded by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), alongside the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), among others.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the competition, the Chairman, Local Organizing Committee, on the 2020 UAV challenge, Prof. Abiodun Musa, said the applicants went through three stages of screening before 1 participants nationwide were shortlisted for the competition out of over 76 applications received. He noted that this impressive turnout is an indication of the Nation’s continuous stride towards human and technology capacity development.
He said that a panel of assessors was constituted which has members from both industry and academia and headed by Prof. Muhammed Dauda, the Provost of Air Forces Institute of Technology Kaduna. Others are the Provost of NDA, Prof. Isa Garba, Industry and regulatory experts from NIGCOMSAT, NCC, DICON; Engr Ikechukwu Amalu, Dr. Joe Emeshili. The panel evaluated the shortlisted entries from which best three were selected.
He said the 3-day event is intended to bring to light the next generation of Nigerians that will champion UAV technological revolution in the country.
He explained that the stages included an online application for the competition, screening of the applications by a team of assessors before the 18 participants scaled to the fourth stage to start the competition.
“We are trying to get the best of Nigeria who would get the technology to the next level; we made series of advertisements and created a website for Nigerians, who have knowledge of the field, to apply.
”This competition is not only about talent hunt, we also want to have Nigerians who, but we can also train to have the necessary skills for UAV development and deployment in Nigeria.
“We are talking about industry 4.0, the key areas to develop are artificial intelligence, UAV and unmanned ground vehicles”, he said.
He noted that UAV and other similar technological innovations and expertise would go along way in boosting the desired outcomes for the communication and digital economy sector in the country.
“UAVs will also go along way in improving health, disaster management and rescue; the UAV has a very wide area for which it can be used.
“The UAV can be used in deliveries by online markets and payments made on board upon arrival, it has come to stay and can be used in many other areas of human endeavour not only for security”, but Musa also said.
The competition would take home N6millon, while the second and third runners-up will receive N3millon and N2 million, respectively, at the end of the competition on Dec. 10.