Rustenburg uses drone technology to map BRT development

Rustenburg - Rustenburg Municipality has begun using drone technology to track progress of its Rapid Transport system which is currently being developed. 

The Rustenburg Rapid Transport (RRT) system aims to make public transport safe, accessible and reliable.  

The project - named Yarona, which means “it is ours” in Setswana - will offer citizens a new era of public transport. 

The RRT will feature two Bus Rapid Transport corridors and a traffic management centre. 

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“South Africa is moving toward the fourth industrial revolution, and as the municipality we leverage on ICT technologies to ensure that we meet the demands of the digital technology of the digital technology era which is changing the way we live work and run our daily tasks,”  mayor Mpho Khunou told Fin24.

The municipality is acting on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's statement at the recent Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Johannesburg, where he said that digital disruption is one of the cornerstones of a modern, diversified economy. 

“The use of technology is crucial to service delivery. The drones are currently being used to map the landscape of the RRT, and have proven most efficient,” Olga Ribeiro, executive director of the marketing wing for the municipality, told Fin24.

Remote pilots launch a drone from key points along the route, flying it to a height of around 300 metres and taking photographs to measure progress. 

The drone taking off from a taxi rank in the Rustenburg CBD.

The drone being used is a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, which features four propellers to launch and fly. 

It is able to reach a maximum altitude of around 500 metres from the base point where the device was initially launched from.

It can manoeuver left, right and back and forth while airborne. 

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The remote of the drone features the Android operating system and launches automatically when the remote pilot swipes the screen to launch the drone. 

The device uses two joysticks. The one on the left is used to control height and allows it to ascend and descend, and to rotate 360 degrees. 

The controller on the right is used to move the drone forwards and backwards as well as left and right. 

Drone mapping is expected to assist the municipality when the first phase of testing is completed in November this year.

Rustenburg has been South Africa’s fastest-growing city since the dawn of democracy in 1994, with the population increasing from 75 000 to 400 000 in two decades. It is home to two of the world’s largest platinum mines.

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