The partnership aims to further stimulate research among staff and students, especially those in engineering, with first-hand knowledge of vehicle manufacturing.
Speaking on the new development, Pr Ayodele AtsenuwaDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Developmental Services) of the institution, said it was another positive step in the right direction by the university.
She told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview Wednesday in Lagos.
Atsenuwa said changing trends in teaching, learning and research at the university remained a key focus area of the current leadership, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.
“Anything that will allow our researchers, students to have a hands-on learning engagement, always brings us complete satisfaction, as it will be seen that we are actually fulfilling our mandate.
“As we continued to interact with NORD Motors, we understood and learned that it was also involved in drone manufacturing.
“Already he’s doing it domestically and we’ve been able to get his commitment that he can also manufacture it here on our campus, and of course make our students major players in this.”
“Remember that we will also look at the entrepreneurship aspect, because it is also intended to generate income from this partnership”, said the public law professor.
She noted that the development would see the manufacture of drones, not just for university security needs, but for the general public.
Atsenuwa said it will also generate an IGR, as well as create a platform for students to use the whole process as study tools.
She also provided an update on the establishment of the vehicle assembly plant by NORD Motors.
Atsenuwa said work had already started on site at the institution.
“We have just been around to see what is happening on site here at our premises and we have seen the construction of the building which will house the showroom.
“We were told about the adaptations that will be made to the mechanical workshop that existed before to make it an efficient assembly plant.
“So the work has actually started and we’re hoping that by the end of September we’ll be able to get this automotive hub up and running, and that’s exciting,” she says.
Mr. Oluwatobi AjayiCEO of NORD Motors, said the company is set to partner with the university in manufacturing drones to further improve safety in and around the country.
“At this time, we are also going to be a partner of this university in the manufacture of drones.
“We have the technology to make unmanned aerial vehicles that we commonly call drones,” he said.
Ajayi said that the company is currently working in partnership with a company in this regard to manufacture drones for police, surveillance, as well as in the field of research and development.
“We’ve already had a few meetings with them and ours, we’ve done a lot of research.
“It’s something I always designed to be done here at the NORD factory on campus.
“We are already doing the same in Epe and this takes into account that Epe is on the outskirts, while UNILAG is in the heart of the city.
“But I think there is much more than that because the University of Lagos has been a great place for teaching, learning and research and has collaborated with industry and private sectors.
“They told us about it and we agreed, because it’s something we’ve been doing for a while now,” Ajayi said.
According to him, NORD will do a lot of drone research and development at the university and hopefully manufacture some there.
He said that for this to happen quickly, a lot of things had to fall into place.
“For example, we need adequate space, knowing that drones are like vehicles, although much bigger, and therefore need more space for testing.
“But, of course, looking around me, I can see the space that we can use for that, but other things have to fall into place.
“Of course, this is something we are currently working on, something I will be happy to work with UNILAG to achieve.
“This is something we are already doing and we can do much better and easier and more cost effectively with UNILAG, and I think with this collaboration we will be able to solve some of our existing challenges”, Ajayi said.
He said the type of drones NORD wanted to make were not just ordinary drones.
“We will manufacture those that could be deployed for surveillance, firefighting (sky scrappers), law enforcement and border control, especially in the face of the problem of porous borders across the country.
“The drone will be about two meters tall with a wingspan of about three meters.
“Most of the drones we plan to manufacture are not just for surveillance.
“They are such that they could be used by the military, customs and immigration.
“They are larger, not commonly found,” he said.
The president said the drones would ensure that human lives were not put at risk.
He said having it manufactured at the university would also spark student interest, as would the assembly of NORD vehicles.
Ajayi said drones all over the world are for the average person still new technology.
He noted that it would improve critical thinking and spark student interest.
Ajayi said work is progressing well at the company’s site for on-campus vehicle assembly, two weeks after signing a memorandum of understanding with the university.
According to him, work is underway for the construction of the showroom, as well as for the equipment of the assembly plant.
He said it was to enable the entire process of assembling, presenting, selling and servicing the products.
“Engineers are already working on the showroom and we are working very hard to ensure that in six weeks we will be done with the showroom, as well as the equipment for the assembly plant.
“I’m optimistic that by the time we get this place up and running, we’ll be assembling at least five vehicles a day,”