‘UAE Drones for Good Award’ announces winner of $1 million prize
Flyability, creating collision-proof drones for dangerous environments, earns top prize
The winners of the first "UAE Drones for Good Award" were announced yesterday after a two-day event where 39 semi-finalists in three categories presented live demonstrations of their projects to a panel of international judges.
Flyability from Switzerland won the $1 million grant in the international competition with its Gimball, a drone that can enter confined spaces and safely fly close to humans. Protected by a rotating cage, which makes it capable of colliding with obstacles in challenging environments without losing its stability, the Gimball is said to be highly effective in rescue missions.
Flyability team lead Patrick Thevoz said: "We struggled to find funding to develop our search and rescue drone but this UAE Government Summit initiative, Drones for Good, means we can commercially develop our project within a year, and with Flyability able to go where it is dangerous for rescuers, help save lives.
"The Drones for Good Award is the first of its kind. It is inspirational, because while there are many awards for academic research there aren't many for the social application of new technology. It allows passionate teams like us to move forward and make this a reality. The Drones for Good Award is a unique opportunity to help people realize that these flying machines are capable of positively impacting society," he added.
Other finalists in the international competition included drones for reforestation, urgent transportation of organs, delivery catchment systems and monitoring of crop conditions.
"The UAE Drones for Good Award is a tangible outcome of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to make optimal use of innovation and technology for the service of humanity. The UAE Drones for Good award exemplifies our commitment to setting global benchmarks in this endeavor," said His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs.
"I congratulate the winners of this great competition, which showed the amazing ways we can use drones for good. All the entries have the capability to transform the world to make it a better place to live in and we are optimistic that they will continue to inspire new breakthroughs", H.E. Al Gergawi added.
The winners of the UAE Government Entities Award and the National Competition were Etisalat and Wadi Drones respectively.