DUBAI, UAE, Feb.7, 2015, Matt Karau of Wadi Drones has won the Government Entities competition with his environmental project to use drones that will document the vast diversity of the UAE’s wildlife by gathering images of different Wadies flora and fauna.
The Wadi Drone team is comprised of four NYUAD students: Martin Slosarik, Ting-Che Lin, Vasily Rudchenko, Kai-erik Jensen. Matt Karau, a visiting instructor and research associate, is the team’s faculty adviser. The team collaborated with the Emirates Wildlife Society and the country’s first national park, Wadi Wurayah National Park located in Fujairah, on the development of the Wadi Drone.
In Wadi Wurayah National Park the drone flies over mountains and through valleys to wirelessly download photographs taken by ground-based camera traps that automatically capture images of wildlife as they pass in front of the camera’s motion sensor. The Wadi Drone serves the conservation efforts of the Emirates Wildlife Society both by increasing the rate at which photographic data of wildlife and potential poachers can be analysed by experts, and by reducing the human risk associated with the current method of hiking to retrieve photos from remote camera traps. Wadi Drones further eliminate the need to employ an expensive helicopter to reach camera traps during the summer months when the heat makes it too dangerous to hike.
Working with the Emirates Wildlife Society, the team will use the AED 1 million prize to implement the Wadi Drone project in Wadi Wurayah National Park, and will look to expand the programme regionally, and internationally.
Flyability from Switzerland won the US$1 million grant in the Drones for Good International Competition with the world’s first collision resistant drone for search and rescue. Read Air-Vid’s article here.
The winners were selected from a pool of 15 finalists chosen from an original pool of over 800 applicants from 57 countries. The award, which was launched by the UAE Government during the second Government Summit held last February, seeks to promote civilian drone technology to serve humankind. The winners of the UAE Government Entities Award and the National Competition were Etisalat (A drone designed to expand network coverage in remote areas, competed against other government entities and received no monetary reward) and Wadi Drones respectively.