Kestrel is designed to be fit-for-purpose. The drone has a hybrid configuration, incorporating and building on the characteristics of widely used drone designs. Specifically, Kestrel is a ‘VTOL fixed-wing’ drone. The VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) refers to 4 propellers attached to the drone that provide vertical thrust which allows Kestrel to take-off and land vertically from virtually any terrain without the need for expensive/ large infrastructure (e.g. catapult, run-way).
Kestrel is also designed with reliability in mind. Incorporating GPS navigation and a ‘Sense and Avoid’ protocol ensures a routine flight performance with every mission allowing Kestrel to confidently navigate to its destination whilst autonomously detecting potential obstacles (e.g. trees) to prevent Kestrel from crashing. We have also embedded an Image recognition system in the drone’s electronics that enables Kestrel to detect a specific symbol on the landing platform that our system can track and feedback information to the motors ensuring a precise landing regime.
It is intended for Kestrel to operate with an autonomous level 3. This means Kestrel can fly over a predetermined flight path, without any input from a human operator, and will send alerts to the operator of any potential obstructions in its flight path. This allows Kestrel to fly BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) from the operator enabling Kestrel to serve communities and clinics safely outside the operator’s field of view.
Following our ABCD philosophy, Kestrel will be constructed using materials and manufacturing techniques locally available to the East African supply chain. This provides opportunities for local employment and ensures the replicability of the project as local technicians will be familiar with the construction, maintenance & operational requirements of the drone.