Astral, Reliable to work on automated aircraft for improving safety

Reliable working with FAA to certify its automation system on Cessna 208 Caravan

Astral, Reliable to work on automated aircraft for improving safety

Reliable Robotics, a leader in autonomous aircraft systems, and Kenya-based Astral Aviation announced a strategic collaboration to enhance aviation safety and increase air cargo connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa through the use of automated aircraft. The companies will work together to develop operational, regulatory and business plans to launch automated aircraft operations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Reliable Robotics is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to certify its automation system on the Cessna 208 Caravan and begin commercial cargo operations in the United States. The collaboration with Astral Aviation will enable international expansion into Africa where the Caravan is an essential utility aircraft with nearly 350 currently operating across the continent, says a release from Astral and Reliable.

"We are preparing for explosive growth in regional trade and the need to transport significantly more air cargo across Africa," says Sanjeev Gadhia, Founder and CEO, Astral Aviation. "Automation will enable us to serve more routes. We look forward to working with Reliable to safely transport larger payloads over longer distances at lower cost with remotely operated aircraft."

Robert Rose, Co-founder and CEO, Reliable Robotics, adds: "The African aviation sector is primed for change and automated aircraft can be part of the solution to the market's constraints. Astral has deep experience operating in Africa, and we share a vision for how automation and remotely piloted aircraft can help the region reach its economic potential with safer, more flexible and cost-efficient air transport."

The widespread adoption of mobile technologies has enabled e-commerce to leapfrog legacy banking, communications, and retail infrastructure, and is expected to grow to half a billion users by 2025 across sub-Saharan Africa. Expanding the air cargo network is critical to GDP and e-commerce growth in a continent with landlocked countries, busy ports, poor road networks, sparse transportation infrastructure, and an average distance between major cities of 4,100 kilometres, the release added.

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