Drones aren’t just for the military and research any more. Commercial drones are a hot topic almost everywhere you go today. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other major tech firms are investing considerable sums into a variety of research on commercial applications for drones. Governments across the globe are sponsoring drone design contests, including the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Drones

The government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the “UAE Drones For Good Award” in February of this year. The award is divided into two categories: An international competition without restrictions and a national competition limited to citizens and residents of the UAE.

Statement from Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

“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 commented relating to the announcement of the “UAE Drones For Good Award” back in February.

Statement from UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs

“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed believes 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,” said H.E. Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs, speaking at the same conference in February.

International award for drones

The UAE Drones For Good international competition is awarding a first prize of $1 million. Contestants are to design prototypes of drones to create services to benefit humanity within the next three years. The winners of the international competition will be awarded their prizes at the UAE Government Summit in February 2015.

National award

The national competition is awarding a prize of 1,000,000 UAE dirham (U.S.$275,000). Contestants are to design practical ideas for drone technology to improve UAE government services within the next year. Priority will be given to important sectors such as education, health, transportation, civil defense and tourism. The winners of the national UAE Drones For Good competition are scheduled to be announced in November 2013.