03 February, 2016

UAE Drones for Good Award kicks off on Thursday in Dubai

Dubai, February 3, 2016The second edition of the UAE Drones for Good Award, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will kick off on Thursday 4 February 2016 in Dubai Internet City.

UAE Drones for Good Award kicks off on Thursday in Dubai
Second edition of award to witness several high profile judges and speakers

20 teams to compete in semi-finals stage of the National and International competitions on February 4

Award offers US$ 1 million for International Competition winner, and AED 1 million for National Competition winner

Workshops to highlight the latest global trends in drones sector

Public offered free entry to award event


Final competitions and announcement of winners to be held on Saturday 6 February

Dubai, February 3, 2016

The second edition of the UAE Drones for Good Award, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will kick off on Thursday 4 February 2016 in Dubai Internet City.

The Judging Committee for the award will evaluate live performances of 20 teams who have qualified to the semi-final stage of the International and National Competitions. The public have been offered free entry to the award event. The final competitions and the announcement of the winners will be held on Saturday 6 February.

The UAE Drones for Good Award is the largest award of its kind, offering a total prize money of AED 4.67 million (US$ 1 million for the International Competition winner, and AED 1 million for the National Competition winner).

Saif Al Aleeli, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and Coordinator General of the UAE Drones for Good Award, said all the necessary preparations have been completed to welcome the participants from a range of countries, including the UAE, Canada, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Greece, and the Philippines. He said the live demonstration of the projects will showcase the services and tasks that can be undertaken using drones in real life to highlight the importance of drones sector in the future.

Al Aleeli called on government entities and private companies to benefit from this event in the UAE, which represents a global forum for the innovators in this sector to exchange experiences and knowledge. He said this is also an ideal opportunity for students in the drones sector to learn about the latest developments in this area.

High profile judges

The Judging Committee will evaluate the participating projects to see if they are safe, effective, economical and innovative and whether they feature new ways of improving an existing service through the use of drones.

The Judging Committee of the UAE Drones for Good Award includes several prominent international experts such as Farouk El-Baz, Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University; Dr. Eesa Bastaki, President of Dubai University; Patrick Meier; a global entrepreneur and founder of Humanitarian UAV Network; and Manahel Thabet, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine & President of World IQ Foundation.

Other prominent international experts include Jason N G, Chief Scientist and iCampus/Smart City Lead at Etisalat BT Innovation Centre, BT Innovate and Design; Lian Pin Koh, Founding Director of the non-profit; Phillip Hall, Adjunct Professor, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at The University of Western Australia; Nikolaos Mavridis, Director of Interactive Robots and Media Lab and Researcher, NCSR Demokritos; Ronald Arkin, Regents' Professor and Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory; Rich Goldman, Chancellor of Global University of Engineering; Carole Van Caillie, International Operations, Indra, and Research and Innovation Independent Expert at European Commission; and M O Jamshidi, Lutcher Brown Endowed Distinguished Chaired Professor at the University of Texas.

The Judging Panel also includes Fatma Taher, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at Khalifa University; Manar Abu Talib from the University of Sharjah; Sara Amiri, Program Manager, Advanced Systems, Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre; and Mohsen Al Awadhi, Lead Mission Systems Engineer at Emirates Mars Mission.

The list also includes Nazih Khaddaj Mallat, Assistant Professor at College of Engineering and Information Technology, Al Ain University; Ahmed M. Darwish, IEEE Egypt Section Chair; Jorge Dias, Full Professor in Electrical Engineering and Researcher from Robotics Institute from Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi; Khaled Letaief, Dean of HKUST School of Engineering; and Adnan Al Rais, Engineer at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.

Other jury members are Wathiq Mansoor, Professor of Computer Engineering, American University, Dubai; Boutheina Tlili, Associate Professor Electrical Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai; Harry Tan, Founder and Chief Scientist, Menara Networks Inc;

Huge Emirati presence in semi-finals

Kenneth Wong and Abdulrahman Alserkal from the UAE will display their humanitarian aid drone called Flare 2.0, taking inspiration from flare guns used by explorers around the world in times of emergencies. It can be useful to professionals and enthusiasts operating in outdoor environments away from mobile phone coverage

A team from American University of Sharjah will present a hydrogen fuel cell drone SM-1433, capable of constant unmanned monitoring which can be useful for industries such as power utility and oil and gas as well as serve sectors such as national defence, civil defence, public services, logistics and telecommunications services.

Team IFOR from the UAE will showcase a drone that can inspect and identify malfunctioning panels quickly at minimal costs, allowing operators to replace the panels and keep solar farms running at peak efficiency.

FlyLab team from the UAE will display their project which can be used in the education sector to provide an innovative, low-cost and easy-to-use solution to achieve a shift in the way science, mathematics and other subjects are currently being taught at schools.

ReefRover team from the UAE will present a drone that provides marine biology researchers, environmental monitoring agencies and science enthusiasts with new tools to effectively map, explore and study near-shore underwater ecosystems.

See in Sea team from the UAE will compete using a drone that can inspect water pollution caused by oil leakage by flying over the sea and capturing images which are then analysed by the inbuilt software in the drone.

The Aircraft Inspector Drone team from the UAE will present an innovative idea that allows the inspection of aircrafts by collecting the data and analyzing this data to detect any possible defects.

The Ocean Eyes team from the UAE will display a drone that can help monitor the ocean, especially in terms of ocean navigation and surveillance. Mainly targeted at ship manufactures, the Ocean Eyes team's Visual Marine Navigation System is replaces seamen required to be on-board to monitor the seas.

Buildrone team from the United Kingdom will present their aerial robot that detects damages and carries out repair tasks in hard-to-access environments. To carry out a repair, such as a leak in a pipeline, or a cracked road surface, or a leaking roof tile, the robot flies close to the damaged area and deposits a sealant material.

The IORTA team from the UAE will showcase their drone, Areioi which is capable of providing 3-D mapping of construction sites. Targeted at construction companies and civil engineering students, Areioi is designed to help cut costs in construction projects by reducing the manpower involved in surveying.

Innovative ideas from around the world

The SenseLab Research Group from Greece will present their SaveME project which makes use of a smart phone that transforms into a drone to support people in emergency health conditions, especially those in situations when people are trapped, lost or wounded and in urgent need of assistance. If there is no mobile phone service in the area, the drone is capable of flying to acquire connection, and automatically inform authorities of the situation, tracking the position of its owner or even fetchingthe required medicine.

The Precision Hawk team from the US will showcase a drone that combines UAV technology and advanced aerial data analytics to identify Red Palm Weevil infestations in date palm trees. The Precision Hawk drone offers to cut costs and time involved by allocating less resources and manpower in identifying pest infestation in entire palm plantations.

The ROMEO team from Austria will display a drone that can release sterile male mosquitoes to check dangerous disease vectors and control epidemics in a cost-effective and environmental-friendly method manner. The ROMEO (Remotely Operated Mosquito Emission Operation) concept is effective in large Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management Programmes and can be used to deliver high quality insects with a more uniform distribution throughout the treated area.

The Loon Copter team from the US will display a novel multi-rotor platform that is capable of aerial flight, on-water surface operation, as well as diving. Loon Copter has incorporated underwater cameras to search water bodies for evidence of crimes. It also has environmental applications, including lake and river health monitoring. The drone is also capable of examining a bridge by flying underneath it and diving to inspect its underwater structures.

The Guide Drone project from the US will present its capabilities to support blind athletes by eliminating the need for sighted guides. The quadrotor features a Styrofoam hull, which protects the runner from the spinning rotors in case of a collision. The drone will also try to avoid the runner in case it gets too close.

The Kwago team from the Philippines will display a drone that can safely fly at night and automatically do different tasks. The drone has a thermal camera, collision avoidance system and also an onboard computer for faster processing of data. It uses an app-based system, and is easily adapted to different apps for various sectors and industries.

A team from Ethiopia will present a drone that can accurately release tsetse sterile males in selected target areas as part of tsetse eradication projects. The drone has an embedded control system that has been configured so that the operation can be performed fully autonomously, eliminating the need of a pilot or high skilled person to operate it.

Humanitas team from Canada will display their HumanIT3D SwarmNet, which runs on smartphone mounted on UAVs. The intelligent multi-UAV management system provides a smart, autonomous, and secure solution for UAV collaboration in low-resources environments for enhanced emergency response. SwarmNet provides an affordable ecosystem for automated drone management and swarming, which may be used for emergency teams to collaborate and save lives.

The Imitec team from the United Kingdom will present its AARM - Advanced Airborne Radiation Mapping - drones capable of mapping the distribution, intensity and energy of radiation in the event of a nuclear disaster but also for more routine civil nuclear applications. The drone will help significantly reduce the cost of routine monitoring at nuclear sites by eliminating or reducing the need for human monitoring teams while significantly increasing the rate at which surveys are performed.

4Front Robotics team from Canada will showcase its Highly Maneuverable USAR Robot drones that can locate and rescue persons from buildings on fire, collapsed building, mines, or other urban and industrial entrapments. The highly maneuverable UAVs have the capability to fly and navigate in highly confined spaces, and will be able to provide high resolution data in a matter of hours, compared to data that could take two to three days. 

Top international speakers

The UAE Drones for Good Award will host a group of prominent speakers to highlight the latest global trends in this dynamic and promising sector, which will have a positive impact on people's lives. The speakers list includes Patrick Meier, Founder of Humanitarian UAV Network in 2013 to enable the safe, responsible and effective use of UAVs in wide range of humanitarian and development settings. During his speech, Patrick Meier will focus on the latest developments in drones applications for humanitarian services, highlighting real instances from around the world on the uses of drones in various fields.

The UAE Drones for Good Award will also host Lian Pin Koh, Founding Director of, a project dedicated to gathering intelligence on forests and wildlife through the use of low-cost unmanned flying machines.  He will highlight the effective use of drones in emerging environmental and socioeconomic challenges, including land-use conflicts, carbon emissions, and threats to natural ecosystems and wildlife.

Mark Yong, co-founder and CEO at Garuda Robotics, a Singapore-based startup specialized in developing and deploying drone systems for infrastructure inspection (buildings, structures and assets), agriculture, and security/surveillance, will speak on the future role of drones as essential elements in infrastructure.

Platform for public participation

The award has introduced a Voting Platform on its website (, providing an opportunity for the public to choose the best teams from the UAE and around the world. They can identify the best innovative projects participating in the awards and have access to video clips, detailed explanation about the main ideas, the mechanisms of the applications and their uses in the future, and how they can be employed to serve all segments of the society.

The Drones for Good Award aims to harness the technology of unmanned aircraft to improve the lives of people, whether in the UAE or anywhere in the world. It aims to design a legislative structure to provide services through advanced technology such as unmanned aircraft in the areas of serving humanity.

For more information about the UAE Drones for Good, please visit:


For further information, please contact:       
ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller      
Tel: (+971 4) 4507600                      
Nedal Al Asaad

Omar Badran

Saleem Stas

© Press Release 2016