Gadgets

Drone delivery in Dubai: Government to test parcel pilot program

UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed attends early tests of the drones that will deliver government parcels.

Above: UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed attends early tests of the drones that will deliver government parcels.

In Dubai, drones that scan your fingerprint and retina will soon supplement normal couriers.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to introduce drones that will deliver drivers licenses and other government documents, the government announced on Monday.

“This is the first project of its kind in the world,” Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, the minister of cabinet affairs in the UAE government, told Reuters.

The prototype includes four rotors and a top compartment that can fit small parcels. Engineers intend to add fingerprint and eye-recognition security systems in order to ensure documents and packages are delivered to the correct recipients.

The government will test the drone delivery service in Dubai for half a year before rolling it out to the broader UAE populace.

“Within a year from now we will understand the capabilities of the system and what sort of services, and how far we can deliver,” added Gergawi. “Eventually a new product will be launched across all the country.”

Amazon recently announced a similar parcel delivery program, but between logistical challenges and regulatory scrutiny, the company may have a hard time launching the service this decade.

The UAE drone program is all-clear on the regulatory side, but the flying couriers will have to cope with high summer temperatures and dusty winds, among other issues.

The UAE already uses drones for some practical purposes. The Dubai police introduced surveillance drones last year to better monitor crowds at major sporting events, and last month Dubai began testing drones equipped with fire hoses and cameras to assist firefighters.


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