Dubai ruler honors UAE drones and robotics competition winners
More than 1,000 projects were received from 165 countries in the UAE Drones for Good Award
Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid, who also serves as the country’s vice president, honored on Saturday the winners of the UAE’s drone and robotics competition, who took home a total of over $2.5 mln in prize money.
The competition, held in Dubai, had two tracks: Drones for Good, which is now in its second iteration, and the first UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, the world’s biggest awards in civilian applications of drones and robotics technology.
The winners of the international category of the Drones for Good took home the grand prize of $1 million for their prototype known as the “Loon Copter.” The drone can fly, float on water, and even dive under the surface.
Its inventors, who hail from Oakland University in the U.S., claim that their winning device has applications for inspecting bridges, monitoring oil spills, and search and rescue missions.
In the AI and Robotics category, the winner of the $1 million prize were a team from the University of California, Berkeley and SuitX who had designed an affordable exoskeleton for children with neurological disorders.
The winning team of the national category of the Drones for Good awards, led by Talib Muhammad Alhinai, an Emirati PhD candidate at Imperial College London, had presented the “BuilDrone,” which detects and repairs leaks in pipelines.
The artificial intelligence award in the national category went to al-Murshid al-Thaki (Arabic for “Smart Guidance System for the Blind”), a robot that can help the blind avoid obstacles, identifying places or objects and navigating. Both national winners won $270,000 each.
Sheikh Mohammad said at the ceremony that the world needs similar initiatives to help keep up with the rapid pace of change.
“The presence of such a large gathering of creative minds from around the world at this event in the UAE shows that innovation has no boundaries,” he added.
Over the course of the three-day event, 40 semi-finalists in both the International and National competitions presented live demonstrations of their projects in front of an expert panel of international judges.
More than 1,000 projects were received from 165 countries in the UAE Drones for Good Award while the UAE AI and Robotics Award for Good received over 660 submissions from 121 countries.