UAE plans to introduce drones for official document delivery, public surveillance

February 12, 2014 10:44 | By | Add a Comment

Dubai is a place of extremes, and their policy on drones reflects that. They recently announced plans to start using drones for various uses, including “delivery of official documents” while also able to check the receiver identity via fingerprint reading, as well as “infrastructure monitoring” (aka surveillance) via high resolution cameras.

The former is not very realistic for the same reasons that Amazon’s PR stunt was little more than just that, but the latter is of course where the meat is – after all, drone surveillance is Orwell’s wet dream come true.

Full press release after the break.

WAM Dubai, 10th Feb. 2014 (WAM): The UAE is conducting pilot tests to introduce unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for a range of civilian government services including delivering documents to the public and monitoring traffic.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, personally attended pilot tests for the UAVs, which are also known as drones.

The UAE intends to use drones for a wide variety of government services, including infrastructure monitoring and geographic surveys. This initiative supports the UAE leadership’s drive to make government more responsive to its customers and to deliver services as efficiently as possible as an early adopter of the latest technology.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed expressed his satisfaction with the project, which Emirati engineers have been running for three months. He instructed that drones should be used for a wider variety of services and across a larger area of the UAE.

“We want to reach to people before they reach us. We want to save time, to shorten distances, to increase effectiveness and to make services easier,” Sheikh Mohammed said. He was accompanied at the pilot tests by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

The UAVs under testing feature advanced technology allowing a remote pilot to track and control the plane in real time, including a high-definition instantaneous video feed. Drones that deliver government documents will use fingerprint recognition to confirm the customer’s identity. Google map technology will be used to specify the survey area, or the location of the customer’s home for delivery.

Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said initial testing with the UAV technology had been promising.

“H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has given the instruction to proceed quickly with final testing and to widen the range of these experiments to encompass new services and broader geographical areas,” Al Gergawi said.

“This initiative is part of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed’s integrated vision for a smart government, a smart society and global innovation in the use of technology to enhance government services. His vision is that technology should be used for the good of people and in the service of the people, and that governments should be the first to adopt the latest technologies.” Al Gergawi noted that UAVs represent a modern technological revolution with many applications, especially in the military field, but that the UAE is the first government worldwide to develop civilian applications for drones to provide government services directly to the people.

He added that the UAE leadership was committed to developing drone technology using Emirati engineering talent, in cooperation with local stakeholders, and deploying it as part of an array of unique innovations that mark out the UAE as a model for government service delivery.


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