Using drones for good

We have talked a lot about drones – What worries us? Are they good or bad? How do they affect populations and interfere with aircraft? etc. And Shahzeb wrote a lovely post about delivery drones for us here. But I was pleased to read in the newspaper at the weekend, that there are lots of creative ideas for using drones to help people, or the environment.

“This weekend, Dubai hosts the UAE Drones for Good award, a competition with a $1m prize for a drone used in a socially responsible project.”

There are lots of example of Drones for Good here:

Drones save Lives – Delivery drones are being tested to connect Bhutan’s main hospital with smaller healthcare units in rural and mountain communities

Henri, a waterproof drone – Used in Haiti, Henri is a waterproof Quadcopter used to map reefs and coastal zones that can land and take off from water and survey habitats above and below water.

VertiKul – a delivery drone developed by students – Three students at the University of Leuven in Belgium developed a drone for their master’s thesis. The VertiKUL is capable of delivering packages to a destination 30 Kilometers away.

Thermal-Imaging Drones to catch vandals on German Railways – Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railways company, plans to test drones as a deterrent to people who tag trains with graffiti and save more than 7 million euros per year.

Drones Enter the World of Insects – Meet the Bionicopter Dragonfly Drone (I like this one as it doesn’t look scary – what do you think it could be used for?):


  • Which is your favourite idea from the website?
  • Why?
  • Can you think of any other good uses for drones?
  • Can you find out which idea won the competition?

Some examples from the newspaper article:

  1. “When a typhoon hit the Philippine city of Tacloban in 2013, a charity named Drone Adventures programmed a drone using Google coordinates to map the disaster area. Once a drone has coordinates, it will shuttle back and forth like an airborne photocopier, taking pictures of the ground below and converting them into detailed new maps. This helps the aid workers decide which area to target.”
  2. “There are regular “mapping parties” in community halls in London  to upload information to OpenStreetMap, the open-source rival to Google. Their aim is to map every part of the world where detailed charts do not yet exist, whether that is the alleyways of shanty towns or vast, unpaved areas of Africa and Bangladesh. Inevitably, the places with the worst maps also have the worst roads, and drones can help here, too, bringing isolated villagers into the global community by improving communications and postal services.”
  3. “Alex Hardy has built a drone designed to plant forests in inhospitable terrain. “The drone has something like a paintball gun mounted below it,” he says, “so it fires the seed into the ground.” Lauren Fletcher of Biocarbon Engineering is the designer, and believes it has a good chance of winning: “The drones allow us to introduce industrial-scale reforestation in a way that was never really possible before.”

All quotes (edited) are from The Guardian Weekend 7th Feb 2015

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About nic schofield

I’m a primary schools computing technician, interested in teaching children, their teachers & their parents, about IoT, computational thinking and implications of technology on their lives and encouraging children to think critically about technology to influence change in the world.

3 thoughts on “Using drones for good

  1. I like this but I think that if these are used in private areas e.g. gardens or any other areas owned by public, this could be bad. But other than this, they are great fun!


  2. Maybe that insect one could be used to scare of birds on a farmers land if there’s 10 or so depending on how big the farmers farm is.


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