When you hear the term “drone” your mind probably resorts to the typical idea of pilotless aircrafts that are owned and used by the military. A recently developed competition known as the “United Arab Emirates Drones for Good Award” helps to broaden the idea of what a drone is and what it can be used for. In fact, these pieces of technology can be used to improve the quality of life for many people.
The idea of the competition is to offer UAE residents the ability to determine how government services can be improved with the help of a drone. There is a national prize of $270,000 USD for the winner. There is also a $1 million USD prize for any international participants that provide their own drone ideas.
The winners of this year’s contest were Flyability, a Swiss team that had dreamt of some brilliant ideas to claim first prize. Some of the other drones in the competition were developed to detect landmines, shoot seeds into the ground for replanting, and even delivering nets.
Flyability designed the drone “Gimball” which is a crashless UAV that can be used for a variety of purposes. The drone had actually emerged in late 2013 and its prototype wasn’t as astounding as it is today and its purpose is to offer various benefits to different industries around the world.
The team worked diligently to have the drone mimic insects when they fly into objects – they keep flying. The drone is kept within a carbon fiber cage which is then housed inside of a rotating frame. When the drone crashes into objects, the outer frame will get all of the impact and the inner frame is still stable.
The largest advantage of this innovative design is that it doesn’t need avoidance sensors or software and the drone can basically fly as-is when housed in its cage. It can collide with obstacles and use them as a helpful guide to get them to where it needs to go. This design is incredibly useful for rescue efforts as it can venture into hazardous areas without the chance of it being irreparably damaged.
In comparison to focusing on a technology that is specific to one industry (such as replantation efforts), Gimball was specifically designed to better many different government processes. Instead of relying on software development, Flyability focused on the structural elements of the drone.