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WeRobotics and Flying Labs: Uses of Drones in Humanitarian and Social Good projects


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I was invited as a Keynote Speaker by the Crisis Mappers Japan, Furuhashi Laboratory at the Aoyama Gakuin University (AGU) to share about all the Humanitarian Response and Crisis Mapping related projects that WeRobotics has been doing at different parts of the world via local innovation hubs in different countries also known as Flying Labs.
The event also showcases some of the Drone use related initiatives that has recently begun by partnerships between DroneBird and local municipal offices.

Published in: Technology
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WeRobotics and Flying Labs: Uses of Drones in Humanitarian and Social Good projects

  1. 1. Uttam Pudasaini NFL Coordinator WeRobotics and Flying Labs: Uses of Drones in Humanitarian and Social Good projects
  2. 2. 291 drownings in the year to June 30- Royal Life Saving Society, Australia
  3. 3. Source:
  4. 4. KEY CONCERN: Drone Usage (Aerial shots of Heritage sites and damaged areas taken by different agencies.) May, 2015 Nepal banned the use of drones as they could leak sensitive information (videos and pictures) of its valuable heritage sites clicked illegally. - A statement from Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) - Flying drones without permission would attract penal action according to local civil aviation law. “It was uncontrolled influx of UAVs through international media and humanitarian teams that the government was forced to take action and restricted their use.” 6
  5. 5. Sept.2015
  6. 6. WeRobotics is established in the USA since December 2015 (501C3) and in Switzerland since January 2017 (Non-profit association) and brings together decades of professional experience, expertise and contacts. FOUNDERS
  7. 7. WeRobotics currently counts 14 employees on 6 continents.
  8. 8. We create global solutions for low income and at Risk countries through our 4 sector-oriented program tracks: AidRobotics Address humanitarian needs for pre/post disaster response and management, policy and coordination with robotics solutions and data analytics HealthRobotics Identify low-cost ways that provide high- precision health care in remote area setting through cargo and mapping solutions that are locally managed and maintained EcoRobotics Support local communities with sustainable farming practices, address nature conservation needs and plan for environmental impacts in areas affected by global warming DevRobotics Address infrastructure issues with robotics solutions and data analytics and create local “Drones-as-a- Service” markets an ecosystems Robotics for the Benefit of All
  9. 9. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” - Lao Tzu
  10. 10. Local Innovation Hubs : Flying Labs
  11. 11. Create local robotics capacity Incubation, business support + Marketplace Create local ”Robotics-as-a-Service” market- place for developing and at-risk countries Skills training + Technology Partners Projects and case studies + Social Good Partners Flying Labs (regional robotics knowledge hubs) Disseminate lessons learned and help perform evaluation and advisory functions to codify best practices for global community 1 Create local robotics Ecosystem2 3 4
  12. 12. Social Good Partners Technology Partners
  13. 13. DR* Flying Labs Senegal* Flying Labs Pacific* Flying Labs Panama* Flying Labs
  17. 17. Philippines* FlyingLabs Senegal* FlyingLabs Panama* FlyingLabs US WeRobotics Switzerland WeRobotics
  18. 18. DRONES FOR SOCIAL GOOD: Humanitarian and Crisis Mapping
  20. 20. Training, 2015
  21. 21.  Kathmandu University  Department of Urban Development and Building Construction ICIMOD , Medair Rural Development Initiative  Nepal Geomatics Engineering Society  Robotics Association of Nepal
  22. 22. First Ever Drone Pilot Training for East African Region  Professional and hands-on 3-day course offered by Tanzania Flying Labs.  Use Fixed-wing and Rotary-wing Drones for a range of humanitarian and environmental projects.  Over 60 applicants from dozens of countries including India, Swaziland, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Zimbabwe.
  23. 23. Drone Code of Conduct for Social Good: More than just Flying Coordinated, Safe, Ethical And Efficient use of Drones in Humanitarian Action
  25. 25. Settlement Area 800 m 1. Drone based Hazard and Vulnerability Mapping: Partnership with Medair (NFL) 2.5 Km
  26. 26. Bukoba Earthquake Response- TFL
  27. 27. 3. FLOOD RESPONSE
  28. 28. Heaviest October rainfall since records began in 1918.
  29. 29. Tanzania Flying Labs carried out aerial surveys of Dar es Salaam at request of city's Emergency Response Team and coordinated the flights directly with the Civil Aviation Authority.
  30. 30. 4. Response to Tropical Cyclones and Recovery
  31. 31. Kolovai (50km2) Navutoka (10km2) Sopu (10km2) UAV4Resilience – Utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Disaster Assessments in the Pacific Islands project
  32. 32.
  33. 33. UAV Imagery Supporting Caribbean Humanitarian Efforts
  34. 34. 6.Field Testing Cargo Drones
  35. 35. Local doctors : An average of 45 snakebites per month and no rapid access to antivenom.
  36. 36. Team : PFL. UAV del Peru, and the Peruvian Ministry of Health, along with some of Peru’s leading public health experts. Field Test: Between Local health hub Contamana and the remote village of Pampa Hermosa around 40 km away. Result : Delivery of life-saving antivenom as well as blood samples. 35 minutes VS 6 hours Riverboat December 2016
  37. 37. FIELD WORK  Used a fleet of 9 cargo drones including a VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) prototype.  A total of 44 complete flights were logged (not counting shorter test flights).  Types of cargo transported : Flood, mail and diagnostic test supplies  Distances covered : Ranged from 10km to 120km.  Three technical failures were experienced and exhaustively investigated
  38. 38. October , 2017
  39. 39. LOOKING FORWARD  Technology partner continues working on a low-cost VTOL prototype  Our Role :Scope the market and startup space for other platforms that fit the needs of the use-cases we’ve identified in the Amazon Rainforest.  Plan for 2018 :Carry out actual cargo delivery services for a 2-month period.  Setup a small Drone port in Contamana to service smaller towns and villages within a 100 kilometer radius.
  40. 40. Developing an Autonomous Cargo Boat for Medical Deliveries Cuyo Archipelago 7,000+ islands, of which around 2,000 are inhabited.
  41. 41. Together with 6 enterprising students from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).
  42. 42. Delivering the Future from African Skies
  43. 43. 7. INCUBATING DRONE BASED LOCAL BUSINESS Main Objective : Sustainable Localization of Robotics Solutions
  44. 44. NFL
  47. 47. This is the story of how we are building Local capacity, Use it for solving local problems and Creating sustainable marketplace.
  48. 48. Humanitarian UAV Coordination Coordinated, safe, ethical and efficient use of Drones in Humanitarian Action Together with UN agencies (UNDP, WFP and UNICEF), AND An array of government, private and non profit stakeholders in six countries: Maldives , Dominican Republic, Peru, Malawi, Mozambique and Myanmar Undertook a series of workshops and practical simulations throughout 2017 to figure out:  what those coordination structures might look like,  where the gaps may lie, and  what we in the international community can do to help them.
  49. 49. PERU
  50. 50. MYANMAR
  51. 51. MOZAMBIQUE
  52. 52. DRC
  53. 53. MALAWAI
  54. 54. content/uploads/2018/02/WeRobotics- Comparative-Analysis-of-UAV-Gaps-.pdf Comparative Analysis of Humanitarian UAV National Capacity Gaps
  55. 55. KEY LEARNINGS 1. Each place has  Strengths and weaknesses in systems,  Differences in regulations and constellations of response actors,  Variations in the types of emergencies likely to occur. 2. Localization of the Technology:  If drone operators aren’t already on site by the time disaster strikes, they probably will not arrive in time to be useful
  56. 56. KEY LESSONS : FLYING LAB MODEL First:  There is extensive demand across the globe for our Flying Labs. Second:  Our current Flying Labs model is centered on institutionalization Third,  A more scalable Flying Labs model is key to growing the network and scaling our global impact.
  57. 57. AFFILIATED FLYING LABS : THE NEW MODEL Result of field-test of our Flying Labs framework for 2 years across 3 continents. We learned 3 important lessons during this time.  Democratize our Flying Labs framework YOUR OWN FLYING LAB …
  58. 58. Drones on their own aren’t valuable unless they’re embedded in strong analytic, policy, and partnership networks.
  59. 59. THANK YOU
  60. 60. EXTRA SLIDES
  61. 61. Overall Priorities: • Extend our thought leadership and institutional frameworks for localizing emerging tech • Serve as primary interface between robotics industry and social good sector • Create and maintain common data infrastructure • Support data analysis to inform decision making • Ensure gender balance and enable South-to-South (Lab-to-Lab) collaboration • Perform evaluation and advisory functions to formulate best practices • Disseminate lessons learned and information products • Resource, scope and incubate new Flying Labs in strategic regions Flying Labs Priorities: • Accelerate technology transfer from robotics industry to Flying Labs • Design curricula and provide professional trainings • Support projects across sectors based on local, national, regional demand • Incubate local businesses and jobs focused on Robotics-as-a-Service