The drone industry has hosted awards for the best drone photos. It’s celebrated the industry’s female leaders. Big-time advocacy groups like AUVSI have called out leading companies. But there’s a new drone awards distributor in town: Airwards.
Airwards just celebrated its inaugural global awards ceremony, acknowledging lifesaving drone projects with a focus on positive use-cases for drones. Airwards winners included projects centered around whale conservation, remote medical delivery, fawn protection, marine search and rescue, and emergency wildfire prevention.
The new Airwards ceremony looked at 100 nominees submitted from international companies, non-profits and organizations worldwide. From there, Airwards whittled it down to just 16 winners, which were announced across the Airwards Winners’ Week between May 24 and 28. The winners were selected by a panel of 26 judges.
Here’s a list of the winners:
|Agriculture||Rehkitzrettung Schweiz||Protecting wildlife from farm machinery during the grass harvest, in which 1,410 fawns were rescued in 2020||Switzerland|
|Defense, Security and Surveillance||VIZGARD||Using computer vision to automate and enhance surveillance, particularly in GPS-denied environments||UK|
|Medical and Healthcare||AerialMetric||Delivery of essential medicines, contraceptives and vaccines in remote areas of Northern Madagascar||Madagascar|
|Conservation and Environment||Ocean Alliance||Studying whales in a non-invasive way by flying through the blow of a whale and collects exhaled breath condensate, or ‘snot’, on Petri dishes||USA|
|Education and Research||Inspire Africa Group||Teaching students across 52 schools in Southern Africa to develop core education skills||South Africa|
|Emergency Response and SAR||Avy||Building an early wildfire warning system with daily drone flights||Netherlands|
|Public Safety||Doosan Mobility Innovation||Creating a hydrogen drone system to speed up the process of finding missing people out at sea||South Korea|
|Counter Drone Systems (Anti-Drones)||WhiteFox Defense||Building a system to stop drones from operating unsafely or being illegally launched||USA|
|Sensors and Payload||Dotterel Technologies||Creating a two-way communication payload for drones||New Zealand|
|Software – Captured data management and analysis||DroneSec||Building a threat intelligence platform for drones||Australia|
|Software – Enabling flight and operational management||American Robotics||Building a drone-in-a-box Scout System capable of continuous, unattended operation to collect data||USA|
|Airspace Management||Cranfield University||Testing tech to enable flying drones beyond visual line of sight in non-segregated airspace||UK|
|Delivery||Volansi||Enabling delivery of cold chain medicines to improve access to healthcare||USA|
|Survey and Inspection||Flyability||Using drones indoors for industrial inspections, replacing the need for humans to do them||USA|
|Consultancy||Flyby Technology||Urban flying of COVID-19 samples, supplies, and the transportation of organs for transplant patients||UK|
|Training and Certification||Avtrain||Operatating on the principle of 3Ds – if it’s Dull, Dirty of Dangerous then a drone should do it||Ireland|
The Airwards nomination period was open between December 2020 and March 2021. Winners were judged on criteria including innovation, responsibility and impact.
Separately, the Airwards also recognized five individuals and companies chosen through the inaugural Airwards People’s Choice Awards.
Those winners were based on the individuals and companies — from 65 nominees — that received the highest number of public votes out of more than 10,000 votes cast. Here were the Airwards people’s choice winners:
- Dr. Ruchi Saxena (India) for the ‘Disruptor’
- Ramón Roche (Mexico) for the ‘Industry Impactor’
- Uttam Pudasaini (Nepal) for the ‘Rising Star’
- Excalibur Healthcare (UK) for the ‘External Advocate’
- Global Drone Training (UK) for ‘SME’