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2/16/2016
07:06 AM
Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto
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6 Drones Designed To Do Good

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.
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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.

[Read more about how cities are using drones.]

"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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kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
2/19/2016 | 8:00:32 PM
life-saving and neccessary
All of these drones look like they could make people think of drones as life-saving, and neccessary machine instread of relating them to military drones, or even just the stuff that brings all those packages to your neighbor's house. I'm having a little trouble with the idea of the phone drone for emergencies since unless a person happens to have one it would have to find the victim, then get their phone to take it somewhere to say help me, while the victim is phoneless as well. If these type of applications were the first public viewing of drones their reputation would be very different.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
2/17/2016 | 3:58:09 PM
Do Good Drones
For what the Buildrone does, it deserves to be the National Champion.
I'm glad that something like the ReefRover exists, so we have the chance to study coral reefs in detail before they become extinct.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
2/17/2016 | 10:14:51 AM
Step in the right direction

Its definitely a step in right direction using the tech in hand for the benifit of humanity and envirnoment. I feel that all the drones selected for top slot have some peculiar specs and abilities which can best be utilized in time of needs. In my humble opinion no one is true winner but all are at top slot. If selecting one I will go for the top prize grabber.

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