Drones For Good!

Feb 13, 2015 By Anita R
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Drones these days are getting a bad rap. From hidden spy cameras and privacy issues to threats to planes and birds, most people are worried at the thought of drones.

But drones need not all be ominous or dangerous.

That is just what the government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) set out to prove with its first competition “Drones for Good”. The aim of the competition is to promote a future where drones can be used to solve humanitarian challenges and improve people's lives. 

Flyability Wins

The $1 million award was given to a team of Swiss engineers called "Flyability." They came up with a cool idea for a collision-proof 'search and rescue' drone that can maneuver safely in complex and dangerous environments.

Their drone called GimBall has the ability to squeeze into tight indoor spaces and search for potential disaster victims. It is able to do so because of its geodesic design (read about geodesics here). Its cage-like structure protects any harm from spinning propellers and makes it stress-free to operate indoors. It could be used in situations such as nuclear accidents or a building collapse. 

The Future Of Drones

Today, drone technology is still in its infancy. However, by the year 2025, the drone industry is expected to be between $8 to $10 billion, employing more than 100,000 people. What makes drones attractive are that they are one-tenth the cost of a helicopter, and can be as small as 5 cms or as large as 50 cms. 

Drones are becoming popular as technologies such as GPS, digital cameras and wireless communication have become mature. They are used in agriculture, real estate, emergency services, package delivery, scientific research, law enforcement, news, and even entertainment! Last week, Alibaba - an online retailer in China, piloted the delivery of packages using drones.

We could very well see the future of drone technology in the areas of pollination, personal security, action sports photography, space discoveries, medical in-body scanning, surveillance and so much more. Of course, challenges such as privacy, noise, cluttering the skies and interference with planes and helicopters, need to be overcome. 

Can you think of any other innovative uses for drones?

Courtesy: Dronesforgood.ae, CSMonitor