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A view on the future from Africa and India

A graphic representation of seeding by drones. The drone delivers seeds inside a container than falling embeds itself in the ground. With rain it dissolves and a tree sprouts. Credit: KPJ Reddy, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

Sometimes in Westerns Countries we turn to places like Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley to take a glimpse on the future. Yet, other areas of the world out of necessity, are taking roads that are further in the future for Western Countries and if we want to see how the future may look like we need to turn to these examples.

In India a professor at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru is experimenting on the use of drones to boost forest grow. He is convinced that by using drones one could reach places that would not be reachable otherwise (unless one hops on an helicopter but then the price skyrockets). Using the on board camera these virtual farmer can control the area and drop the seeds with good precision.

The trial is expected to go on for the next three years in the district of Karnataka’s Kolar. Researchers want to assess if this seeding methods works.

In Ruanda ZipLine, a start up, has started to operate a service for blood delivery to hospitals in remote area using drones. Since it started, in October 2016, they have already run 1,400 delivery flight, 25% of them called on emergency cases.

The company is now expanding in Tanzania setting up 4 distribution centres (drone airports…) each one hosting 30 drones. They expect to run 500 delivery each day.

Amazon, UPS and Google are all having delivery trials in US and Europe but for now the future in this domain can be found in developing areas.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. He's currently the Chair of the Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Initiative of IEEE-FDC. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and up to September 2018 he was the Head of the EIT Digital Industrial Doctoral School. Previously, up to December 2011, he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books. He writes a daily blog,  http://sites.ieee.org/futuredirections/category/blog/, with commentary on innovation in various technology and market areas.

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