You’ve probably heard of the burger joint Jack-in-the-box, now meet its older and more advanced (and rather unrelated) sibling: Drone-in-a-Box by RocketDNA (ASX: RKT). The drone automation company’s ‘drone-in-a-box’ (comprising a drone inside a big box) can now operate in South Africa after receiving approval from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) for Remote Docking Station Operations. What’s more, it’s the first company in South Africa to receive this approval.
RocketDNA CEO, Christopher Clark, said, “Following our very recent approval for our ‘drone-in-a-box’ solution in Australia, we are very pleased to have attained the equivalent in South Africa, where we have a significant footprint of tier-1 and tier-2 customers and expect customer demand for the solution. The process has been arduous, however, it now uniquely positions the business in many ways.”
On August 30, RocketDNA obtained approval from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to operate the ‘drone-in-a-box’ within the country. CASA granted permission to use two autonomous drone systems, namely the DJI Dock System and the Hetronics Global Drone Station, by RocketDNA. This approval also includes the capability for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights.
SACAA, South Africa’s national aviation regulatory authority, is responsible for supervising and granting consent for activities in the civil aviation sector, including the operation of commercial drones. RocketDNA has successfully completed a rigorous approval procedure with SACAA, which involved a demonstration at RocketDNA’s remote operating center in Johannesburg and an evaluation of its operational procedures, including its operations manual.
SACAA granted permission for Remote Docking Station Operations employing the autonomous Hextronics Global Drone Station, which encompasses Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flights. RocketDNA is South Africa’s pioneer in obtaining approval for Remote UAS Docking Stations.
Clark added, “We expect similar use cases to Australia in mining and uniquely in South Africa, providing security intelligence for mines against theft who we already service in South Africa using traditional drones, as well as the agriculture sector. There is also a huge opportunity to develp new autonomous drone-based use cases around safer and more sustainable work environments, keeping people out of dangerous environments through monitoring intelligence which spans multiple existing and new verticals.”
These approvals enable RocketDNA to offer its clients automated operational processes employing drones and artificial intelligence. RocketDNA has already created three products under the brand X-Bot, which fall into the categories of drone-in-a-box solutions: InspectBot, PatrolBot and SurveyBot.
In H1 2023, the Company’s operating loss from continuing operations reduced by 45% to $717,065. Its revenue remained flat at $1.5 million on the prior quarter and up 2% on Q2 FY22. Its loss reduced by 10% to $740.1k from $818.2k in pcp. Plus, RocketDNA completed the BARS (Basic Aviation Risk Standard) registration required for Australian and South African operations, which is increasingly becoming a pre-requisite registration service providers to large mining and gas operators.
Transforming its drone tech into a compact and affordable commercial model, complete with hardware, software, and maintenance, is expected to create major growth opportunities for RocketDNA. And these opportunities become more accessible with the receipt of SACAA approvals.
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