UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, left, and his son Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum watch a prototype drone on Sunday. (Photo: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
Move over, Amazon. The future of delivery drones is in the United Arab Emirates, where officials just announced a new plan to deploy them.
A prototype unmanned aerial vehicle was unveiled today, along with a plan to test it for six months in Dubai before expanding the program to the rest of the UAE. The prototype is about 45 cm long, has four propellers and is marked with official UAE branding. The plan is for the drones to deliver government documents, like drivers licenses.
And for those who are troubled by the use of drones, these ones take the Big Brother factor up a notch: they'll be outfitted with fingerprint and retina scanners to help ensure that their sensitive cargo gets to the right place.
"This is the first project of its kind in the world," Mohammed al-Gergawi, a minister of cabinet affairs, told Reuters. Dubai is already home to a couple of functioning drone fleets: the fire department is currently testing them to help monitor and analyze fires, and the police department uses them for surveillance and crowd control during sporting events.
Unlike the Amazon delivery drones, which may never actually take flight, these UAE drones could be up and running and delivering packages across the country within a year.
Via The Verge