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Humans · Nature · Economy · Technology

The Nigeria jet car

October 22nd, 2017
in:Humans, Nature, Economy, Technology
by:Bob Koigi
located in:Nigeria
tags:Africa, innovation, Nigeria, technology, traffic jam

On average, a Nigerian in the country’s metropolis of Lagos, spends 25 hours a month in traffic as the city chokes under a mammoth population of 21 million, making it the most densely populated city in Africa. A sea of vehicles clogs every available road.

Nigeria losses up to $ 9 billion every month to traffic congestion. Companies lose up to 5 manpower hours a day as staff remain stuck in motionless traffic.

This has made Lagos one of the most stressful cities to live in according to the 2017 Global Least Most Stressful Cities Ranking by Zipline, measuring air pollution, public transport and traffic among other metrics.

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks Lagos among the worst in liveability, even worse than the war-torn Damascus and Tripoli in Libya, with a key metric being infrastructure.

But one man in Nigeria has decided to do something about it. 46 year old Kehinde Durojaiye, a self-taught inventor, has designed a contraption that can manoeuvre through the Lagos traffic. Dubbed the 'aero-amphibious jet car', the car can travel on land, water and air.

He has successfully tested it on water, in an event that attracted hundreds of curious onlookers and won him admiration and attention world over. His next dream is to have his innovation fly.

It is the labour of love that sees him spend hours on end in his makeshift workshop located in a dump site next to the Lagos Lagoon, trying to panel beat and perfect his prototype in the hopes of making it fly, someday.

The jet car is a collection of discarded materials such as tricycle steering wheel, plastic, an old keyboard, Styrofoam, wood and even an office chair.

Kehinde has already traveled with the car, moving with it to Ibadan, a town that is approximately 84 miles from Lagos with speeds of about 75 miles per hour. At sea he says the jet car can travel at six knots.

The father of three who started innovating at the age of nine says the reason he hasn’t managed to make his innovation fly is because it is resource and capital intensive and he hasn’t found the means to upscale. He, however, remains hopeful. The improved version of the jet car, dubbed seacraft, currently runs on a jet propulsion engine which powers airplanes. Once he is able to complete it, it would accommodate 16 people.

Idris Okunola, from Nigeria’s Ministry of Science and Technology, says that Kehinde’s innovation is a promise of what local solutions can do to some of the most biting African problems, compounded by a growing population as infrastructure remains limited. “Lagos has been billed as one of the most populous cities in Africa, and the population is set to grow even higher in coming years. Obviously city transport becomes the first casualty of this population explosion. We cannot keep expanding roads because there are no roads to expand. We need to think smart and that is what Kehinde’s innovation is doing”, he said.

Kehinde has already made four prototypes of the jet car. And although his car is unconventional, it never ceases to make heads turn anytime it passes by, with curious onlookers eager to have a ride.

While it is still work in progress and will require more attention to compete with established brands or carve a niche of its own in the global auto aeronautical space, it has inspired local and international inventors who are eager to tap into technology to aid 21st century problems. “Nigeria has demonstrated that it is capable of tapping into local resources without spending heavily to innovate. It is the way to go and I am sure Kehinde’s innovation will inspire a new generation of inventors to come up with all rounded solutions that champion smart cities in Africa”, said Idris.

Dalton Emeka, a member of the Young Innovators of Nigeria, which focuses on indigenous technology to foster national development agrees: “There is so much we can tap into from our local resources to transform Nigeria and Africa without making it complicated and expensive. Kehinde’s jet car is a classic example. The future of the continent doesn’t belong to importing technology and skills but in tapping into what we have. It is possible and it has been demonstrated,” he said.

Article written by:
Bob Koigi
Author, Contributing Editor
Current Map: Our coverage
Embed from Getty Images
Nigeria losses up to $ 9 billion every month to traffic congestion with companies losing up to 5 manpower hours a day as staff remain stuck in motionless traffic.
Embed from Getty Images
46 year old Kehinde Durojaiye, a self-taught inventor, has designed a contraption of its kind that can manoeuvre through the Lagos traffic. Dubbed aero-amphibious jet car, the car can travel on land, water and air.
Embed from Getty Images
The jet car is a collection of discarded materials such as tricycle steering wheel, plastic, old keyboard, Styrofoam, wood and even an office chair.

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