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Drones wanted for delivery of services

posted on 12/02/2014: 1917 views



The UAE government announced a new international award worth US$1 million to promote innovation in drone development for civilian purposes. Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, announced the new award on Tuesday at a special media briefing on the side-lines of the Dubai Government Summit.

"We invite individuals, businesses and universities to work on their best ideas and look at innovative ways of improving the existing technology for drones. The UAE wants to develop drone technology and help reduce the time taken for providing government services,” said Al Gergawi. A team of experts working closely under the supervision of the UAE Prime Minister's Office has already tested the possibility of using unmanned aerial vehicles to provide government services. In three months, pilot tests and proposals have been evaluated for implementing this.

"We want ideas that are applicable. The world has a lot of great minds and we need to give a platform and incentive. The world is becoming technologically advanced and we believe in smart governance. It isn't simply about using technology but it also includes looking at ways to improve government offerings,” said Al Gergawi.

Universities, businesses and individuals can participate in the award, which will be open in two categories — international and the UAE. Innovators in the UAE can aim for a top prize of Dh1 million while the international category will have a prize of US$1million.

In a video demonstration of the current drones tested by the UAE government, a package carrying an Emirates ID card can be delivered from the ID centre to a resident's house.

"Legislations are extremely important when it comes to using drones, we need to work with the Civil Aviation Authority and other authorities before implementing these new technologies,” added Al Gergawi.

A jury of specialists and government officials will evaluate the award entries and technical guidelines for the competition will be unveiled in two weeks. Entries will have to meet global safety standards and innovators will be challenged to create drones which can cover reasonable distances and remain reliable.

"This is a very realistic target and the current technologies in the UAE are among the best in the world. Our job is to listen to people's ideas and make it a part of the vision by providing sustainable solutions.”

Contestants will be expected to submit detailed proposals with the technical features and how it could help improve an existing government service. Winners of the international competition will be announced at next year's Government Summit in February 2015. The competition's UAE edition would come to a close in May 2014.

Gergawi also highlighted the possibility of young students becoming a part of the competition.

"When it comes to creating smart applications, most of our smart applications come from students and many of these are implemented in ministries and government authorities. Some of the students have even become consultants and these competitions provide a platform for young talent.”

The awards were announced in line with the directives issued by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. – Khaleej Times – Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2014/February/nationgeneral_February98.xml§ion=nationgeneral

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