The emirate continued its dedication to fostering UAV growth this week, announcing 20 semi-finalists for the annual Drones for Good Award – a competition “dedicated to transforming these exciting [UAV] technologies into practical solutions for improving people’s lives today.”
The competition has already well outpaced last year’s level of competition, which featured 800 teams from nearly 60 countries all vying for a $1.27 (USD) million prize. For 2016, a total of 1,017 projects were submitted from 165 countries. The 20 semi-finalists come from the UAE, Canada, Australia, Ethiopia, the U.S., UK, and the Philippines.
Guide Drones for Blind Athletes: A project that “explores the use of a drone to guide a blind athlete to run independently on a track. Rather than guiding a blind athlete using a leash, we take advantage of the fact that a drone’s rotors typically generate a high-pitched sound.”
Precisionhawk Early Detection of Red Palm Weevil Infestations: The Red Palm Weevil, a species of snout beetle, often digs meter-deep holes in trees, resulting in the destruction of millions of dollars in ruined crops. The Precisionhawk project will deploy sensor-arrayed drones to automatically detect the infestations.
Drones in support of sustainable rural development in Ethiopia: In an effort to control tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis in Ethiopian agrarian regions, this project will deploy UAVs to the seed areas with sterile male flies to eradicate the tsetse.
“[UAE leader] Sheikh Mohammed believes that technology should be used for the good of people and in the service of the people, and that governments should be the first to adopt the latest technologies,” said H.E. Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs.
“We want to reach to people before they reach us. We want to save time, to shorten distances, to increase effectiveness and to make services easier,” added Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Winners will be on announced on Feb. 7 following live demonstrations in front of a panel of international judges.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
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