With many countries developing drone technology for military use, United Arab Emirates is working on ways to use the new technology to serve civilians. The UAE is known for its showmanship and state-of-the-art technology. It has also just launched a $1 million international competition, inviting people from all over the world to come up with the most innovative use of unmanned aircraft to improve people’s lives.
According to Noah Raford, an American adviser to the office of UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emirates has already started experimenting with the idea to use drones to deliver documents, national identification cards and driver licenses to citizens. At this rate, the UAE Government could even beat Amazon’s drone delivery service with an expected launch date of next year.
A local engineer, Abdulrahman Alserkal (designer of the project), has said that cargo carried by the drones would be protected using fingerprint and eye-recognition security systems to prevent theft of the official documents and packages. Testing for the drones’ durability and efficiency will be carried out in Dubai for six months, before they are introduced across the UAE.
This, however, is not the first attempt at civilian drone use since Japan uses unmanned aerial vehicles for seeding and spraying crops, while India uses drones to protect endangered wildlife in nature parks from armed poachers. While in the US, commercial and civilian use of drones has been stalled by the FAA, the Emirates government is taking a positive initiative in bringing this technology to its people and using it in a positive way.