The United Arab Emirates Government wants to use drones to make the world a better place, and to help innovators develop solutions and applications that will enhance people’s lives. That’s why they created the Drones for Good Award, which comes with $1 million in grant money to help the winners make their innovation a commercial reality.
Flyability won the first UAE Drones for Good Award with its search and rescue drone, Gimball, according to a news release.
The competition launched at the 2014 Government Summit in Dubai Internet City. Earlier this month, 39 finalists in three categories gathered for the International Competition, where they presented live demonstrations of their projects to a panel of international judges. The 2015 Government Summit followed a few days later, an event that focuses on “how technology will radically reshape government and public services through the introduction of drones, robotics and other innovations,” according to the release.
“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, according to the release.
So what made Gimball stand out to the Drones for Good Judges? This drone is designed to enter confined spaces and safely fly close to humans, according to the release, making it very effective during rescue missions. A rotating cage offers added protection, which gives Gimball the ability to collide with obstacles without losing stability.
“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 Switzerland-based Flyability team lead Patrick Thevoz said, according to a news release.
Thevoz described this first-of-its-kind award as inspirational, according to the release, and is grateful for the opportunity it provides.
“While there are many awards for academic research there aren’t many for the social application of new technology,” he said, according to the release. “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.”
There was also a division for national competitors who won AED 1 million, according to the release. The winners of the UAE Government Entities Award and the National Competition were Etisalat and Wadi Drones.
For more information about Drones for Good, visit dronesforgood.ae. To learn more about Flyability’s Gimball, watch the video below.