UAE International Drones for Good Award

A 1 million dollar prize is up for grabs for the winner of the UAE Drones for Good Award, taking place in Dubai this week.

The UAE Government are inviting “the most innovative and creative minds to find solutions that will improve people’s lives and provide positive technological solutions to modern day issues.”

Associate Professor Lian Pin Koh is part of an international panel of judges for the Award.

The international category is offering a prize of USD 1 million dollars and there is 1 million AED up for grabs in the national category. There have been over 800 entries from around the world, which has been narrowed down to 39 contestants in the semi finals. The successful entries to the semi-final stage have come from countries ranging from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Sudan to Australia, Germany, Canada, the US, UK, Spain, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, and Singapore.

Some of the applications for these drones include a group from Spain who have designed a drone that can transport organs for transplant from donor centres to the receiver efficiently and quickly, reducing chances of the rejection. Another group has designed a system to detect landmines safely. Clinton Burchat from Australia has come up with a project that eliminates the need for a large yard for drones to make package deliveries.

The possibilities of “drones for good” are endless, as Lian Pin knows only too well from his research using drones for environment conservation and protection. He and his team of researchers from around the globe have formed, a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to provide the technology for low cost drones to be applied to conservation applications and to build awareness of conservation efforts especially in developing countries.

He and co-founder Serg Wich came up with the idea in 2011 after studying orangutan populations in asian countries where illegal logging threatens their survival. Find out more about Lian Pin Koh and the application of drones to conservation by listening to his TED talk “A Drone’s-eye view of Conservation” or his article “Game of Drones” in eScience magazine.


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