I am Uttam Pudasaini, geomatics engineering graduate from Kathmandu University (KU), and coordinator of Nepal Flying Labs (NFL). I am always curious to explore more about new technologies, and how they enable individuals and organizations to be more efficient. For an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) hobbyist like me, being the coordinator of NFL is an amazing opportunity as it provides me with all of the necessary resources (hardware and software) required to deploy this technology and expand its use in Nepal (and beyond).
Through NFL I hope to promote the use of UAVs in a variety of civil applications, such as high resolution mapping, precision agriculture, conservation, transportation of medical supplies, support for environmental research, and other projects in Nepal. To do this successfully I first look to gain the trust and respect of the country’s aviation authority. Unauthorized use by different hobbyists and international media agencies after disasters led to the introduction of strict regulations by the government of Nepal. NFL will showcase its social good initiatives to concerned government authorities, like the Civil Aviation Authority and the Home Ministry, and continuously lobby for flexible UAV laws for social good projects. In addition I will continue to create data products and services for local organizations using UAV-captured information, and provide training on UAVs, GIS , and other robotics technologies. These trainings, as well as project opportunities, will be available to local students and fresh graduates with the goal to ultimately build local capacity in robotics technologies.
In summary, I envision NFL as a UAV expert center in Nepal that will be developing local capacity in robotics by providing training, equipment, and data processing expertise to local businesses and other organizations. As a non-profit organization, we always ensure that the projects we take on directly benefit human life and the physical and natural environment around them. The final phase of NFL in Nepal is to incubate local businesses in Nepal that will provide UAVs as a service. We will be working together with local business incubation centers, like the one at Kathmandu University, to provide training focused on how to create a successful business around UAVs as a service.
WeRobotics, and by extension NFL, are focused on creating a future where local communities can use robotics for social good. This is the main reason why I feel very proud to be a part of this team. I hope to master the use this technology in mountainous regions, such as Nepal, where the terrain is a large obstacle for surveying and rescue operations during and after disasters. I’m often asked why I chose this field and the answer is simple – new technologies have always interested me, and frankly I consider myself lucky to have learned about UAVs when I did because they are quickly gaining popularity.
I invite any readers to follow NFL’s work through this blog, and to contact me with any questions, suggestions, or ideas you may have.