techcrunch.comBased in Johannesburg, Rocketmine provides “aerial data solutions” in mining, agriculture, water and forestry, and civil engineering. It expects to book just over $1 million in revenue in 2016, according to CEO Chris Clark, and received South Africa’s first Commercial Operating License in 2015 under the country’s new Remotely Piloted  Aircraft Systems (RPAS) regulations.

Clark formed Rocketmine in 2013, and now has 7 pilots, operates a fleet of 15 eBee drones, and conducts business in South Africa, Nigeria, and Mozambique. “We’ll fly in Africa wherever the requests come from,” said Clark.

Big clients include mining giants Anglo American and BHP Billiton. One of Rocketmine’s customer solutions is quantifying mine stockpile volumes using aerial volumetric 3D mapping. “Previously employees would walk over these 40 meter piles with GPS devices, which was dangerous and less accurate. Now what used to take half a day takes half an hour and we get volume calculations down to 0.025 percent accuracy in variation to standard GPS-supplied data,” explained Clark.

This story is about drone start-ups in Africa. The challenges and solutions are familiar as are the names of many of the clients. The moral of this one is that smart, client-centric, well-run businesses are finding success all over the world.


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