Today, unmanned aerial vehicles are used across a myriad of applications, from filming Hollywood blockbusters to exploring impenetrable geographic locations. However recently, the aerial technology has begun to lend itself to a new purpose – Humanitarianism. Today’s UAVs are faster, safer and cheaper to fly which makes them hugely appealing and effective candidates for humanitarian ventures. This has been highlighted in the recent Nepal earthquake disaster, where volunteer UAV pilots played a huge part in the search and rescue operation following the devastating earthquake by coordinating their efforts through Uaviators.org. For a fraction of the cost of their satellite counterparts, UAVs generate real time information, situation monitoring, public information and advocacy, search and rescue, mapping and more. UAVs have played a key role in the disaster relief efforts of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, Hurricane Sandy in Haiti, mass flooding in the Balkans and the aftermath of a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Ludian County in Yunnan, China.
The International UAV Humanitarian Award (UAVHA) exists to celebrate the efforts of humanitarian drone projects, search and rescue, not for profit initiatives and recognize some of the industry’s most inspirational role models. The UAVHA will be presented at the UK Drone Show in December 2015, with hugely respected industry greats Dr. Patrick Meier (of UAViators.org, author of Digital Humanitarians) and Patrick Egan of AirVid on-hand to present the award.
The UAVHA is supported by The World Bank, The US Red Cross and The UN, with some members of these organisations joining the judging panel for the award. The judging panel will also be comprised of leading industry professionals such as Eric Cheng, Director of Aerial Imaging at DJI Global, filmmaker Phillip Bloom and thought leader on humanitarian technology, Patrick Meier.
Oliver O’Brien, Founder and Project Manager of UKDroneShow.com said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be launching this unique award at the UK Drone Show to celebrate the unsung heroes in the UAV industry. Globally, people are really starting to embrace new technology to improve humanitarian efforts and we want these unsung heroes to be recognised. With backing from some of the world’s biggest humanitarian organisations and a star studded line up of judges, we are confident this first award will be a success and continue to run annually.”
Inspired to bring together humanitarian and UAV communities across the globe, UAViators is at the forefront of the global ‘altruism meets aviation’ movement. Driven to action by the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, UAViators founder Dr. Patrick Meier knew there had to be a faster, more cost effective solution to obtain and share valuable aerial footage.
“While I was surprised by the surge in UAV projects in the Philippines, I was troubled that none of these teams were aware of each other and that most were not sharing their imagery with local communities. What happens when even more UAV teams show up following future disasters? Will they be accompanied by droves of drone journalists and “disaster tourists” equipped with personal UAVs? Will we see thousands of aerial disaster pictures and videos uploaded to social media rather than in the hands of local communities? What are the privacy implications? And what about empowering local communities to deploy their own UAVs? There were many questions but few answers. As a result I launched the humanitarian UAV network (UAViators) to bridge the worlds of humanitarian professionals and UAV experts to address these questions,” explains Meier.
UAViators is the culmination of his efforts, and brings together over 1,000 members in over 70 countries globally. By actively supporting an international volunteer network of professional, civilian and responsible hobbyist UAV pilots, UAViators hopes to bring a social conscience to the commercial drone industry. The efforts of these organizations and individuals are truly inspiring and serve as a fine example of how today’s technology can make the world a better place. With an Advisory Board consisting of the European Commission, the UN, Red Cross and the World Bank, UAViators is a strong and growing network.
The UAV Humanitarian Project Award aims to recognize these committed individuals and show powerful companies and governments the many uses of drone technology.
Full judges list – Abi Weaver (Red Cross), Robert Scoble (Rackspace), Brendan Schulman (Kramer Levin), Daniel Gilman (United Nations), Patrick Egan (Air-Vid), Randy Scott Slavin (NYCDFF), Edward Anderson (World Bank), Patrick Meier (Uaviators), Eric Cheng (DJI Global), Phillip Bloom (phillipbloom.net)
For more information about the International UAV Humanitarian Award (UAVHA) visit: http://www.uavha.com/
For more information about the UK Drone Show and where it will be presented, visit: http://www.ukdroneshow.com
Dakota Digital for UK Drone Show
Contact: Jade Cayton
Tel UK: 01623 428996
Tel US: 917-720-3025
The UK Drone Show will take place at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, England, December 5th-6th 2015.