My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: United Arab Emirates starts Drones for Good Competition and How Jamaica can jumpstart Drone Designs

Monday, July 21, 2014

United Arab Emirates starts Drones for Good Competition and How Jamaica can jumpstart Drone Designs

“Drones get a lot of bad publicity related to surveillance and military operations. But at the end of the day, they're only a tool of technology. Our message is that we can use it for the good of people all over the world. We've already seen a lot of potential for humanitarian uses”

Project Manager for Drones for Good Award, Saif Al Aleeli, commenting on Drones and their non-military uses

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) apparently loves their Document Delivery Drones a little too much. So much so that they’ve planned an International Competition for Designers and Engineers to develop the next generation of Drones with the launch of the Drones for Good Award back in June 2014 as reported in “Your 'good drone' idea could be worth $1m”, published July 15, 2014 By Daisy Carrington, CNN.

The competition comprises of two (2) halves:

1.      Local Competition in the UAE with a prize of US$270,000
2.      International Competition with a prize of US$1,000,000

The rules are fairly simple:

1.      Developers and Designers need to develope Drones for non-military usage i.e. First, do no Evil
2.      Drone Designed have to be original and not already in production and on the market
3.      Drones need to solve problems for the UAE Government e.g. Traffic Monitoring, First Aid Response in the Desert
4.      No limitations for International entries; can be a private individual, team or a company

Project Manager for Drones for Good Award, Saif Al Aleeli Global view isn't surprising as it relates to including International entries, quote: “Innovation doesn't have an address. It comes from different geographical areas, from R&D centers and from the poor guy in Africa trying to provide a service or feed a certain need with technology. We want to give a chance to everyone in this world to be part of this innovation exercise”

UAE and Drones – Government Drones are so Good; UAE want more of them

This is a surprise development as it was just earlier in February 2014 that the UAE Government started using Drones to deliver Government Documents as stated in “Drone deliveries get off the ground in Dubai”, published February 10, 2014 8:38 PM PST by Dara Kerr, CNET News. Quite reasonable; the country’s rather large and its Government Ministries are rather far-flung, as far as the Camel rides or the crow flies….or in this case, the Drone flies!

Thus, seeing the potential usefulness, the UAE’s trying to address the negative stigma associated with Drones and their Military usages via stirring up the creative minds of the World with a Drones for Good Award.

This isn't new. Aside from their current civilian usage, the UAE's been interested in Drones since last year, their love for these flying puppies clearly on display. This was evident during the 2013 Dubai Airshow featured Aircraft Developer Abu Dhabi-based Adcom Systems that put its Drones on display as stated in “Mideast Companies Seek Foothold in Drone Market”, published Nov 20, 2013 By MARIETTA CAUCHI, The Wall Street Journal.

This might give Americans some degree of envy, as their FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) has put the kibosh on further Civilian Drone usage dependent on the outcome of several Studies to create Regulations and Standards for their usage within American Airspace as stated in my blog article entitled “FAA ok’s Drones for Hobbyist – Study to determine Commercial Drone Risk as Amazon, UPS and FedEx Drones get the Kibosh until 2015”.

UAE’s Drones for Good - UAE Lazy route to the Google of Drone Design and Application

Current Civilian usages include Personal Drones mainly aimed at filming on Contract or even personal filming of Daredevil Antics for Extreme Sports enthusiasts. The AirDog Drone and the Hexo+ Drone as detailed in my blog article entitled “AirDog Personal Drone – Action Selfie-Drone with an attachment for a GoPro Camera” and “Hexo+ Semi-Autonomous Drone Controlled by Apple iOS and Android – Despite no AirLeash Six Propellers better than Four as it won’t run away” come immediately to mind as examples

The Civilian use of Drones is an issue that's currently being challenged within the United States of American. A recent legal victory with a ruling handed down by National Transportation Safety Board Judge Patrick Geraghty with regards to Team BlackSheep founder Raphael Pirker challenge of the FAA rights to regulate Drones as explained in my blog article entitled “NTSB Judge Patrick Geraghty rules Drones for commercial purposes are now free - Forward thinking Black Sheep founder Raphael Pirker leading America towards an Almost Human Future” paves the way for Civilian contracts but not scheduled Commercial Flights of fleets of Drones.

This is what Amazon is currently awaiting and when it comes to pass, it'll mean the skies will be filled with what would basically be the first forms of flying Robots to deliver Packages as described in my blog article entitled “Fast Food Robot taking over by 2017 - How Drones like Amazon and PrimeAir and not Humanoid Robots will be the first Robots by 2015”. USA and the Caribbean need to do some catching up quickly, otherwise we'll find ourselves left behind in the race to utilize Drones to their full advantage.

UAE Lazy route to Drone Dominance – How Jamaica can jumpstart Drone Designs

By making the competition global, the UAE is basically canvassing the ideas of the Worlds Designers and Engineers and may end being used by the UAE to further their ambitions to become a world Leader in Drones, according to the UAE's minister of cabinet affairs, Mohammed Al Gergawi, quote: “I think it is a new stage of development, not only for the UAE, but for the world. Either you embrace this technology, or you resist it. If you resist it, then the gap between you and your competitor wouldn't be a year or two, it's going to be 500 years”.

The UAE’s already way ahead, something smaller countries like Jamaica should emulate by throwing out the design for the Drones needed by the Ministry of Agriculture as described in my blog article entitled “Min. of Agriculture proposes DNA Database for Cattle and Livestock – How RFID Biometric Markers can curtail Praedial Larceny and Develope Agro Processing for Export” to local Civilians Contractors.

After all, we may have local talent within the island that can produce the same level of results as our international Counterparts, as Aviation isn’t a secret, merely involving a lot of Trial-and-error design to see what works. 

This could blossom into a yearly Drone Competition that could see sponsored competitors fly around the island in a dexterity test of endurance for their designs as suggested in my blog article entitled “Suggested low cost high impact Launch of Digicel WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) Broadband Network and DigiTV”.

Let's hope that their intentions are exactly as pristine as the Desert Wilderness they live in and not a means to develope a private Robot Army to wage was in the Middle East.
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