Reliable Robotics, a US-based autonomous aircraft systems provider, has partnered with Kenya’s Astral Aviation to improve aviation safety as well as air cargo connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa with automated aircraft.

Under this alliance, the two companies will develop operational, regulatory, and business plans to launch automated aircraft operations in the region.

Astral Aviation founder and CEO Sanjeev Gadhia said: “We are preparing for explosive growth in regional trade and the need to transport significantly more air cargo across Africa.

“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.”

Reliable designs and builds remotely piloted systems, while Astral Aviation is an all-cargo airline in Africa.

The alliance is expected to create a platform to enhance automated air cargo solutions while bringing economic benefits to Africa.

Currently, Reliable Robotics plans to start commercial cargo operations in the US and is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to certify its automation technology on the Cessna 208 Caravan.

The partnership with the Kenyan firm will help Reliable Robotics expand its footprint in the African market.

Reliable Robotics co-founder and CEO Robert Rose said: “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.”