From a drone that can detect and immediately repair oil, gas, chemical, or water pipeline leaks, to an autonomous underwater drone that helps survey coral reefs, here's a look at the winners and finalists of the recent UAE Drones for Good competition.
Despite reputations of being privacy-violating aerial menaces or remote-controlled killing machines, drones have potential to improve -- and even save -- people's lives. The participants in the UAE Drones for Good competition aimed to prove that.
Drones entered in the UAE competition, which was launched in 2014 by the United Arab Emirates government, were evaluated for innovative solutions in resolving problems or issues faced in the environment, health, social services, humanitarian aid, and a number of other categories.
The event, held in Dubai, initially had 1,017 projects submitted from 165 countries worldwide. But that group was paired down to 20 semi-finalists in mid-January and, of this group, six were named finalists during the first week of February. Over the course of Feb. 4 to Feb. 6, the finalists' drones were evaluated regarding whether they made the most of technology to create well-being in the community and serve humanity.
"The world is witnessing rapid changes and new challenges every day which requires us to unify our efforts to employ modern technology to serve humanity," said Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in a statement. "Innovative initiatives will enable us to create the best solutions to overcome hurdles across the path to progress and help achieve our aspirations."
From the group of six finalists, one winner was named the UAE Drones for Good National Champion, receiving a cash prize worth 1 million Arab Emirates Dirham (AED), or $272,260, and another was named the UAE Drones for Good International Champion, with a cash prize of $1 million.
Take a look at the winners and finalists of this international drone contest and let us know what you think. Do they change your perception of the flying machines? Do any of their uses completely surprise you? Let us know what you think in the comments area.
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Dawn Kawamoto is a freelance writer and editor. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's News.com, TheStreet.com, AOL's DailyFinance, and The ... View Full Bio
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