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20 contestants in race for UAE Drones for Good Award

Semi-finalists in International and National competitions vie for AED 4.67 million in prize money

The Organizing Committee of the UAE Drones for Good Award has announced that 20 contestants have qualified to the semi-finals stage at the National and International competitions of the award, which attracted entries from all parts of the world.

The UAE Drones for Good Award is the biggest award of its kind, offering a total prize money of AED 4.67 million (US$1 million for International Competition and AED 1 million for National Competition).

Launched by the UAE Government during the second Government Summit in 2014, the UAE Drones for Good Award is aimed at making optimal use of technology to serve humanity and create happiness in the community. 

Saif Al Aleeli, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and Coordinator General of the UAE Drones for Good Award, said the qualification of these innovative projects to the semi-finals stage highlighted their advanced approach to addressing the challenges faced in different sectors, especially since they were selected from 1,017 projects submitted from 165 countries from around the world.

He said that the second edition of the Award witnessed large number applications that displayed high levels of innovation and technological development, strengthening the international position of the Award globally to achieve its goal of using new technology to serve humanity.

Al Aleeli said the UAE Drones for Good Award has today become a global benchmark for applied innovations of drones in major sectors involving governments, organizations and individuals. It has encouraged the use of technology in a cost-effective manner as the scope of employing drones technologies in the area of government services continues to grow amid significant advancement in research and development.

Al Aleeli commended the participating national universities for their key role in the award and for coming up with the advance levels of projects compared to the first edition. Stressing the importance of exchanging knowledge between national and international teams to develop this sector, Al Aleeli invited the public to the Award event to enjoy the live performances during the semi-finals and finals competitions which will be held in Dubai Internet City from 4 to 6 February 2016.

The successful entries to the semi-final stage of the second UAE Drones for Good Award have come from a range of countries, including the UAE, Canada, Australia, United States, United Kingdom Ethiopia, Greece, and the Philippines. 

The largest number of successful entries is in the Environment category with four semi-finalists, followed by Health and Humanitarian Aid sectors with three each. Transport and Construction sectors have two semi-finalists each, while Economy, Civil Defence, Education and Logistics sectors have one each. Two semi-final entries have been received in other category.

International Competition - Semi-finalists:
SaveME - A drone that performs as a mobile phone - Greece
Among the semi-finalists, SaveME project of the SenseLab Research Group from Greece makes use of a smart phone that transforms into a drone to support people in emergency health conditions, especially those in situations when people are trapped, lost or wounded and in urgent need of assistance.

If there is no mobile phone service in the area, the drone is capable of flying to acquire connection, and automatically inform authorities of the situation, tracking the position of its owner or even fetchingthe required medicine.

Panagiotis Partsinevelos, who has led the SenseLab team, has estimated that the market cost for off-the-shelf product for customers will come to about US$150-250, depending on design parameters and the optimization benefits of the implementation phase.

“The phone-drone SaveME application will cost a few hundred dollars, which, when compared to health maintenance issues and medicine costs, is a small investment for a great value. Hiker clubs or tourist groups can share just one in case of going to an excursion. In addition, the governments should use them for emergency conditions including hazards and civil protection,” said Partsinevelos.

Being considerably small in size and used only when emergencies arise, the drone is considerably safe while in operation. Moreover, the final implementation includes obstacle avoidance through proximity sensors, said Partsinevelos.

Citing funding as a major concern for the development of the project, Partsinevelos commended the initiative taken by the UAE government to encourage innovation and technology to serve people.

“Initiatives such as ‘The UAE Drones for Good Award’ promote humanity, aid people and societies in need, and give opportunities for dreams to become a reality. The UAE provides an unparalleled paradigm to the whole world,”Partsinevelos added.

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