Afrotech’s Red Lines

Afrotech seeks to pioneer Red and Blue Lines in the lower sky. It defines a Red Line as a cargo drone route for medical and emergency use, often in remote locations. A Blue Line is a commercial cargo drone route, often in and around cities.

Red Line was founded by Afrotech director Jonathan Ledgard and is lifted by EPFL, along similar lines to Solar Impulse. It is supported by Swiss Robotics, leading research universities, companies, and governments (see below for early contributors). The lead architect on the Red Line droneport is Lord Norman Foster.

Red Line, at its core, is an accelerator for flying robotics for the poorest communities. It includes leading roboticists, engineers, designers, logisticians, doctors, economists, business people, and philanthropists – all of them working together to accelerate the development and deployment of robotics technologies in order to save lives and improve economic outcomes in off-grid areas and humanitarian crises.

To accomplish its mission, Red Line will establish an accelerator in Africa for the development of cargo drones, droneport infrastructure, logistics, and regulations. The aim is to deliver payloads with high social value to villages and towns that lack access to basic healthcare and economic necessities and to design an affordable clean energy droneport that can serve as the petrol station of the future in emerging economies.

Red Line will implement the latest robotics research, including precision based navigation, biomimetics, advanced materials, safety systems, landing systems, energy systems, cyber security, route optimisation, design and operations. It will also act as a field-testing site for internally developed and third party technologies. Red Line’s first droneport will be a platform dedicated to testing and implementing new logistics solutions. Red Line will host gatherings of researchers and practitioners from diverse fields in order to foster innovation through cross-pollination of sector learnings.

Red Line’s mission – heavier payloads between futuristic droneports over inaccessible mountains and lakes – differentiates it substantially from existing drone delivery focused on military, B2B, or last mile consumer delivery applications for developed markets (Amazon Prime Air). Revenue generated by Red Line intellectual property will be directed back into the expansion of Red Lines to communities that could not otherwise afford access to the technology.


Red Line will be presenting this innovation at GFIA Africa: 1-2 December, Durban, South Africa. For tickets visit

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