The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the openingof entries for the “UAE Drones for Good Award”, the largest-ever award for exploring civilian applications of UAV technology for improving people’s lives (www.DronesForGood.ae).
The Award was launched under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, during the second Government Summit, in February 2014.
The Award has two parts; an international prize offering $1 million USD and a local prize of 1 million AED (approximately $275,000 USD).
The local prize will honor the best application for delivering government services in the UAE within the next 12 months, focusing on priority sectors such as health, education, civil defense, transportation, tourism, and other services.
The international prize will recognize the best ideas for using UAV’s in the next 1 to 3 years, focusing on their broader applicationin any area that may benefit humanity. Examples includedelivering government services in remote areas to humanitarian applications such as providing relief during natural disasters.
Both are part of a larger campaign to encourage talent and innovation in the application of emerging technologies for improving people’s lives.
His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said the Award is a demonstration of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to raise the government’s role in supporting innovation in future-related technologies and services that impact positively on people’s lives. It is also in line with His Highness’s goals to stimulate creativity and build partnerships with research centres, universities and technology specialists in a range of areas, particularly governmental, humanitarian and medical.
“This is another step in our efforts to achieve our goal of utilizing technology to make life easier for people in the UAE and around the world,” said H.E. Al Gergawi. “Theworld has young innovators who need the support to translate their ideas into landmark projects of benefit to humanity. The Award is therefore aimed at encouraging innovation among the global students and in universities,” H.E. Al Gergawi added.
H.E. Al Gergawi said the government has been working on developing the strategic framework for effectively utilizing UAV technology in extending services beneficial to humanity. “After identifying the challenges and evaluating the current technology, we created a plan for UAV-based services based on four main pillars: Legislative Framework, Priority Services, Creation of Platforms for Exchange of Knowledge and Experiences, and Research and Development,” said H.E. Al Gergawi.
Competitions for the prizes will take place locally and globally, in three main phases: qualifying, semi-finals and finals. All entries will be assessed by local and international committees, based on specific criteria such as safety, effectiveness, economic feasibility and efficiency. The winner of the local competition will be honored before the third session of the Government Summit in Dubai in February, 2015.
First Phase – Qualifying
The qualifying phase of the Award starts from today, May 10, 2014, and will extend up to August 1, 2014, for both local and global levels. During this phase, the participants will be required to upload short videos on the Award website, no longer than two minutes, explaining their service idea and how they think it could provide. Participants will also have to provide a written explanation of the service in 500 words.
Second Phase –Semi-finals
The second phase of the Award will start from August 15, 2014, and end on September 30, 2014, for local competitors, and on November 15, 2014 for international contestants. During this phase, participants will be required to submit a detail technical proposal and a longer video, explaining the concept in more detail. This will be evaluated by a technical committee for feasibility and technical innovation.
Third Phase – The Finalists
The third and final phase starts on October 15, 2014, and ends on November 15, 2014 for the local competition. The top three winners in the local competition will have the opportunity to qualify directly for the finals in the international level of the Award, which endson January 1, 2015. Finalists will be required to present a live demo and short presentation to a jury of technical experts and government officials.
Launch of Award websites
The official website of the Award has been launched:www.DronesForGood.ae, which contains all the information related to the Award, in terms of participation, and important dates with deadlines. The website will be constantly updated according to the different phases of the competition and will become a portal for global dialogue on these important issues.