Collision-resistant drone with spinning cage wins Drones for Good prize

Meant to navigate confined spaces without harming bystanders, it wins team US$1 million from UAE government

Drones today are smarter and more stable than ever, but most aren’t exactly designed to maneuver through tight spaces, let alone zip around near living creatures. But the Gimball is built for just those needs.

Designed by Flyability, a team from Switzerland, the Gimball can be used for search and rescue or industrial inspection needs, as a rotating cage around the body keeps it from crashing when it bumps into walls or other obstacles. It’s also very lightweight, and won’t injure a human during a light impact.

Moreover, as seen in the video below, it’s possible to roll the Gimball along the ground or through tunnels, making it even more versatile as it navigates compact areas - such as a collapsed building or other wreckage. Try sending your average quadcopter through that.

The Gimball is so impressive, in fact, that it just won the team a US$1 million (about £656,000) grant via the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Drones for Good Award. Held in Dubai this week, the final competition saw 39 international semi-finalists demonstrate their helpful drones live, and Flyability came away victorious.

“We struggled to find funding to develop our search and rescue drone, but this UAE Government Summit initiative, Drones for Good, means we can commercially develop our project within a year,” said team lead Patrick Thevoz, affirming its potential ability to save lives.

And the UAE Government isn’t stopping with Drones for Good. This week, it also announced plans for the AI and Robotics Award for Good, which a year from now will similarly award US$1 million for an advancement in those categories.

[Source: Drones for Good]

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