Drone Futures

John Hill
9. April 2019
Image: Norman Foster Foundation 

Are drones and Droneports the future in places like East Africa? The technology and infrastructure required to serve drones is the subject of AERIAL FUTURES: Lake Victoria Challenge, which took place in Mwanza, Tanzania, last year and is documented in a short film.

World-Architects was introduced to Droneports, like a lot of people, at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, where Norman Foster installed a scale model of his brick-vaulted Droneport. The 2016 Droneport Project, initiated by EPFL-Afrotech and designed by Foster + Partners, was predicated on the poor road conditions in the area and the faster speeds that drones could deliver much-needed medical supplies via "highways in the sky," as well as the potential to create "civic hubs" around the Droneports.

The Lake Victoria Challenge was built on the 2016 Droneport Project and is a World Bank initiative "that aims to explore drones as a new mobility model for the hard-to-reach, rural communities of the Lake Victoria region." Following the Aerial Futures think-tank that took place in October 2018 in Mwanza, on the banks of Lake Victoria, the Lake Victoria Challenge will resume in November of this year with a flying competition addressing the area's mobility needs, followed by a symposium in December.

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