UAE Drones for Good Award reveals panel of judges, key speakers

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UAE Drones for Good Award reveals panel of judges, key speakers
Farouk El Baz

Dubai - Award offers $1 million for International Competition winner, and Dh1 million for National Competition winner

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 25 Jan 2016, 5:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Jan 2016, 7:41 PM

The Organising Committee of the UAE Drones for Good Award, launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has revealed the names of the experts in the Judging Committee which will select the winners of the international and national competitions to be held at Dubai Internet City from February 4 to 6.
On February 4, the judging panel will evaluate live performances of 20 teams who have qualified to the semi-final stage, out of a total of 1017 applicants from 165 countries. Based on the evaluations during this stage, qualifiers will be selected for the final stage of the competitions.
The UAE Drones for Good Award is the largest award of its kind, offering a total prize money of Dh4.67 million ($1 million for the International Competition winner, and Dh1 million for the National Competition winner). The winners for the award will be announced on February 6.
Saif Al Aleeli, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and Coordinator General of the UAE Drones for Good Award, said: "Aiming to promote the UAE's global position as a leading centre for the drones technology sector and to employ the best practices to improve the services provided to the society, the Organizing Committee of the UAE Drones for Good Award has selected a group of prominent experts from this sector in the UAE and other countries to form the Judging Committee of the award."
Al Aleeli said the award has become a global platform to showcase the latest innovative ideas for innovators, manufacturers and investors in the drones sector, which will see investments worth billions of dollars during the next five years. It also provides an ideal opportunity for investors, innovation incubators, entrepreneurs and tech companies involved in the sector to partner with government entities, companies, academic institutions and organisations at the local and global level.
Prominent international experts
The Judging Committee of the UAE Drones for Good Award includes several prominent international experts such as Farouk El Baz, Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing, Boston University, known for his pioneering work in the applications of space images to ground-water exploration in Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Oman and the UAE; Dr Eesa Bastaki, President of Dubai University and former CEO of ICT Fund; Patrick Meier, a global entrepreneur and founder of Humanitarian UAV Network in 2013 to enable the safe, responsible and effective use of UAVs in wide range of humanitarian and development settings; and Manahel Thabet, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine & President of World IQ Foundation, who is ranked among the 30 Smartest People Alive by SuperScholar, and is a Brain of the Year Award laureate for 2015-2016.
Other prominent international experts include Jason N G, Chief Scientist and iCampus/Smart City Lead at Etisalat BT Innovation Centre, BT Innovate and Design; Lian Pin Koh, founding director of the non-profit; Phillip Hall, adjunct professor, School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering at The University of Western Australia; Nikolaos Mavridis, director of Interactive Robots and Media Lab and Researcher, NCSR Demokritos; Ronald Arkin, regents' professor and director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory; Rich Goldman, chancellor of Global University of Engineering; Carole Van Caillie, International Operations, Indra, and Research and Innovation Independent Expert at European Commission; and M O Jamshidi, Lutcher Brown Endowed Distinguished Chaired Professor at the University of Texas.
The Award Criteria
The panel will focus on specific criteria such as whether the projects are safe, effective, economical and innovative and whether they feature new ways of improving an existing service through the use of drones, or suggest new kinds of services that could be used practically and economically. The successful entries to the semi-final stage of the second UAE Drones for Good Award have come from a range of countries, including the UAE, Canada, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Greece and the Philippines.
Top international speakers
The UAE Drones for Good Award will host a group of prominent speakers to highlight the latest global trends in this dynamic and promising sector, which will have a positive impact on people's lives.
The speakers list includes Patrick Meier, founder of Humanitarian UAV Network in 2013 to enable the safe, responsible and effective use of UAVs in wide range of humanitarian and development settings.  In 2015, he spearheaded the World Bank's UAV mission in response to Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 Cyclone in the Pacific.
The UAE Drones for Good Award will also host Lian Pin Koh, founding director of, a project dedicated to gathering intelligence on forests and wildlife through the use of low-cost unmanned flying machines.
Mark Yong, co-founder and CEO at Garuda Robotics, a Singapore-based startup specialised in developing and deploying drone systems for infrastructure inspection (buildings, structures and assets), agriculture, and security/surveillance, will speak on the future role of drones as essential elements in infrastructure.
The award sectors
The International and National competitions of the UAE Drones for Good Award are divided into several categories: Environment, Education, Logistics, Transport, Construction and Infrastructure, Health, Civil Defence, Tourism, Social Services, Economic Development, and Humanitarian Aid.
The Drones for Good Award aims to harness the technology of unmanned aircraft to improve the lives of people, whether in the UAE or anywhere in the world. It aims to design a legislative structure to provide services through advanced technology such as unmanned aircraft in the areas of serving humanity.

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