The UAE Drones for Good Award: 6 awesome inventions that could win the $1 million prize

From cracking down on poaching to controlling the weather, the semi-finalists in the UAE’s Drones For Good Award have some incredible uses.

EDGAR staff February 5, 2015

A few weeks ago we let you in on the world's worst-kept technology secret - that drones have the potential to change people's lives beyond all recognition. And it turns out that the drone revolution is arriving right here in the UAE this weekend, February 6-7, as the winner of the UAE Drones for Good Award is set to be decided.

The competition sees a total of 39 national, international and government contestants whittled down from more than 800 entries, descend on Dubai. The government-backed organisation has pledged to give away a $1 million cash prize to the team who they deem to have made "the best use of civilian drones for improving people's lives", and an AED 1 million prize for the winner of the national competition.

Among the entries, which come from an impressive 57 countries all around the world, there are some truly ingenious ideas that have the potential to have a huge effect on our daily lives - and could win their makers that cool $1 million prize. Here's our pick of this year's entrants:

Fog Dissipation Drone

Although not an every-day problem in the UAE, every so often heavy fog causes chaos to the country's airports and busy roads, leading to flight cancellations and road accidents. However, a team from the UAE's very own Khalifa University has come up with a brilliant solution: a drone that can dissipate fog in seconds by spraying a simple saline solution around a problem area.

Ranger Drone

A Spanish entry, the Ranger Drone is designed to work as part of a fleet of UAVs, which patrol areas of National Parks and support local authorities in detecting poachers. In areas where poaching isn't a problem, the drones can also be used to perform search and rescue operations.


"A robot which can go where no others can", Gimball is a drone that will literally bounce off anything it collides with. Primarily designed to help with search and rescue situations, the fact that it's so safe indoors will surely see it rolled out as a fun family drone too.


Another disaster-relief drone, Navigate, from unmanned vehicle specialists 4Front Robotics, is designed to enter dangerous situations such as burning buildings. Once it's given a mission, it has the ability to think on its own, and relay any information about the disaster scene back to the emergency services.

The FRIENDS Project The FRIENDS (First Response Infrastructure Emergency Network Drone System) Project is a network of worldwide disaster relief drones that the makers are proposing to operate out of Dubai. It will use drones to carry pre-packaged aid modules to disaster zones all over the world.


Skynet is a system whereby drones are used to deliver items into specially designed baskets that can be attached to balconies or put outside houses. It's not going to save any lives but it might just make getting deliveries a hell of a lot easier. Details: For more information on the UAE Drones For Good Award, visit