Facebook and Uber want to operate drones in Kenya


An artistic impression of a Bartini flying car: Uber wants to test drone taxis in Kenya. PHOTO | FILE

US-based tech firms Facebook and Uber have requested permission from Kenya's aviation regulator to test drone activities locally following legalisation of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) says the tech giants have shown interest in use of drones in the country following adoption of regulations to guide operation of the devices.

The move makes Kenya the third country on the continent after Rwanda and South Africa to have a legal framework in place for the remotely controlled aircraft.

Drone taxis

KCAA director general Gilbert Kibe said Wednesday that while Facebook has not clarified specific areas that they want to use the UAVs for, Uber wants to test flying taxis in the country.

“Facebook and Uber have requested if we can allow them to test their projects in the country,” said Mr Kibe Wednesday.

Uber wants to build cars that can fly, with plans to launch an aerial taxi service by 2020.

Drone regulations were gazetted last year, in a move that now legalises their use in Kenya.

The rules are, however, supposed to be ratified by parliament with KCAA making a presentation before MPs on Thursday.

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