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Swiss rescue drone receives largest award valued at $1 million
By a Staff Reporter February 09, 2015
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DUBAI: In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, UAE ministers and international dignitaries, Flyability from Switzerland received the $1 million grant in the International Competition of the first “UAE Drones for Good Award”, the largest award of its kind in the world.

The Flyability team has developed Gimball, a drone that can enter confined spaces and safely fly close to humans, proving to be highly effective in rescue missions. It is protected by a rotating cage which makes it capable of colliding with obstacles in challenging environments without losing its stability.

Flyability team leader, Patrick Thevoz, said: “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 capable of going anywhere that is too dangerous for rescuers, it can save lives. 

“The Drones for Good Award is the first of its kind. It is inspirational, because while there are many awards for academic research there aren’t many for the social application of new technology. 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 realise that these flying machines are capable of positively impacting society,” he added.

Over the course of the two-day event, 39 semi-finalists in three categories presented live demonstrations of their projects to a panel of international judges. There was also a division for national competitors who won Dhs1 million.

The other finalists in the International Competition included drones for reforestation, urgent transportation of organs, delivery catchment systems and monitoring of crop conditions.

“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 endeavour,” said Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs.

“I congratulate the winners of this great competition which showed the amazing ways we can use drones for good. All the entries have the capability to transform the world to make it a better place to live in and we are optimistic that they will continue to inspire new breakthroughs,” he added.

The winners of the UAE Government Entities Award and the National Competition were Etisalat and Wadi Drones respectively.

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