His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday honoured the winners of the second UAE Drones for Good Award and the first UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, the world’s biggest awards in civilian applications of drones and robotics technology, in the presence of top dignitaries and international experts at the conclusion of a three-day competition at Dubai Internet City.
Loon Copter’s multi-rotor drone from the United States won the $1 million prize in the International Competition of the UAE Drones for Good Award, while UC Berkeley & SuitX team from the United States was the winner of $1 million prize in the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good for its Affordable Exoskeletons for Children with Neurological Disorders.
At the National Competitions, which offered Dh1 million to winners in each of the awards, Buildrone won the UAE Drones for Good Award for its aerial robot that is capable of detecting damages and carrying out repair tasks in hard-to-access environments.
The Smart Guidance System for the Blind won the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good.
The project offers to help the blind avoid obstacles, identifying places or objects and navigating from one place to another.
On the occasion, Sheikh Mohammed stated that the UAE has become a leading international centre of innovation to stimulate investment in human capabilities and encourage innovations in new applications to make life better for every human being.
"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.
“Innovative initiatives will enable us to create the best solutions to overcome hurdles across the path to progress and help achieve our aspirations," Sheikh Mohammed added.
Sheikh Mohammed said: "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.
“It is also encouraging to see the keen participation by young UAE innovators, including students, in both the awards, which goes on to prove that the UAE and the people of this country have embraced excellence in every aspect of their lives."
His Highness added: "These awards represent the UAE’s message of peace to the world. We appreciate the innovative humanitarian efforts that transform the impossible into realities through outstanding applications to create happiness for people and raise their hopes.
“We encourage the effective use of artificial intelligence to help us meet our daily requirements more efficiently. These impressive achievements are the outcome of innovative minds – the real wealth of this world."
Loon Copter, and more
UAE Drones for Good Award International Competition winner Loon Copter’s novel multi-rotor platform is capable of aerial flight, on-water surface operation, as well as diving. The drone system combines into one vehicle the capabilities of traditional reconnaissance aircraft, watercraft, and submarines, and can be employed for surveying, search, and rescue missions.
Apart from Loon Copter, the other contenders at the International level in the final round of the UAE Drones for Good Award were 4Front Robotics’ USAR Robot drones (Canada), and SenseLab’s SaveME drone (Greece).
Buildrone, the winner of the National Competition of the UAE Drones for Good Award, presented a construction and repair aerial robot that detects damages and carries out repair tasks in hard-to-access environments.
Smart Guidance System for the Blind, winner of the National Competition of UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, displayed a project that offers to help the blind avoid obstacles, identifying places or objects and navigating from one place to another.
The final stage contestants in the National Competition of the UAE Drones for Good Award included Reef Rover’s drone for studying underwater ecosystems; and FlyLab’s drone aimed at the education sector.
UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good International Competition winner UC Berkeley & SuitX team’s Affordable Exoskeletons for Children with Neurological Disorders project is aimed at quickly promoting walking skills among children.
Apart from UC Berkeley & SuitX, the other two finalists in the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good competition were MIT Biomimetics Robotics Lab team with their HERMES robots (United States), and Andros Robotics team which came up with its Robotic Leg Advancement Device (United States).
In the National Competition of the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good, the other finalists were B Motion team with its Brain Controlled Electric Wheelchair, and RE-ACT ROBOT team with its haptic robotic system.
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 UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good received over 660 submissions from 121 countries, reflecting the massive interest generated by the awards from all parts of the world.