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Controlling the tsetse fly population with drone systems

The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) releases sterile male insects in zones in which the flies' indigenous population level must be controlled. The sterile insects copulate with non-sterile ones, providing no offspring and, consequently, reducing the population.

challenge

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Controlling the tsetse fly population with drone systems

The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) releases sterile male insects in zones in which the flies' indigenous population level must be controlled. The sterile insects copulate with non-sterile ones, providing no offspring and, consequently, reducing the population.
1K
people impacted
$1.6T
potential funding
the problem
Nature and Context

Physical Computing The Drones Against Tsetse project is an initiative to control trypanosomiasis in Africa, starting on Ethiopian agrarian regions. Trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness, is transmitted by tsetse flies, causing large-scale damage and loss of both humans and animals. The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) releases sterile male insects in zones in which the flies' indigenous population level must be controlled. Once freed, these insects get mixed with overgrown populations. The sterile insects copulate with non-sterile ones, providing no offspring and, consequently, reducing the population. In order to be effective, SIT requires the liberation of 100 sterile males per square kilometer, applied weekly. Embention has developed a fully autonomous drone system capable of applying the SIT technique with tsetse flies. This has been achieved by using a long endurance fixed-wing aircraft controlled with Veronte Autopilot.

Symptoms and Causes

Trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness, is transmitted by tsetse flies, causing large-scale damage and loss of both humans and animals.

Non-sterile tsetse flies are the carriers of the disease, so by mixing sterile tsetse flies with the non-sterile ones, which inhibits their ability to produce offspring, we are reducing the population/spread of tsetse flies as a whole.

the impact
Negative Effects
  • Non-sterile Tsetse flies are carriers of the Trypanosomiasis disease

Economic Impact
  • On average, it costs about $58,000 to be treated for Trypanosomiasis disease

Success Metrics

Non-sterile tsetse flies are the carriers of the disease, so by mixing sterile tsetse flies with the non-sterile ones, which inhibits their ability to produce offspring, we are reducing the population/spread of tsetse flies as a whole.

This article by the Washington Post has great information on how the US helped fund a solution, check it out here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/a-us-funded-nuclear-project-to-zap-a-killer-fly-into-extinction-is-saving-west-africas-cows/2019/05/31/12f92626-7713-11e9-a7bf-c8a43b84ee31_story.html

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