UAE looks to drones for speedy public services
Items like passports and ID cards may one day be delivered to citizens in the United Arab Emirates by unmanned aircraft, according to recent reports.
The plan is intended to speed the delivery of public services and reduce bureaucracy. By using drones to deliver key documents and medicines, the UAE government hopes to streamline the process, and cut costs.
Technologists around the world have been invited by the administration to develop drones that can be used to make time-sensitive and secure deliveries throughout the region. Two prototypes of suitable devices were unveiled at a summit in February.
The UAE government is not alone in identifying the potential efficiencies associated with drone deliveries. In December 2013, for example, online retailer Amazon unveiled plans to make use of drones to serve its US customer base.
Given the likely development schedule of such technology – Amazon estimates that it could take up to five years for the service to start – there is likely to be some delay before citizens in any nation start benefitting from it.
That said, an engineer working on the project for the UAE government told the FT that his team would “beat Amazon” – leading to suggestions that the public sector could be ahead of the private sector in this area of technological innovation.