LAGOS, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria is ready to benefit from economic opportunities of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), popularly known as Drones, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika said Monday.
Speaking at a symposium in Abuja, the nation's capital, the minister said the industry projects that total drone sales would reach new heights in 2017 and 2018, with one billion U.S. dollars in revenues and about four million units sold.
The gathering was organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
According to him, this potential is attracting some of the best minds in technology and manufacturing, and the devices they are creating have practically limitless uses.
He told his audience that drones are transforming industries like agriculture, film making, real estate and creating countless new jobs and economic opportunities.
According to him, unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are tackling jobs that can be dangerous for people or other aircraft as in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
He said remotely piloted aircraft have sparked excitement among hobbyist and manufacturers are stepping up to meet this interest. The industry is moving at the speed of the software industry around the world.
The minister said aviation was gradually moving away from traditional system of pilots flying jetliners from one destination to another to an emerging RPAS.
He said Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had the responsibility to ensure the safety of Nigerian airspace being the most complex and busiest airspace in west and central Africa for public use.
According to him, the authority needs to incorporate RPA and their users into the Nigerian culture of safety and responsibility in a way that does not stifle the enthusiasm for this growing industry.
Sirika said the government through NCAA had established Remotely Piloted Aircraft Safety Team that would include a wide variety of stakeholders in the aviation industry.