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United Arab Emirates claims it’ll make drone deliveries within a year

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the United Arab Emirates prime minister and ruler of Dubai, left, and his son Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum watch a drone during the Virtual Future Exhibition Sunday. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

In December, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously said it might be possible to deliver packages via drones in four to five years.

The United Arab Emirates thinks it can top him, claiming it will have a working system in a year, according to a Reuters report. The government wants to use it to  deliver ID cards, drivers licenses and permits to citizens.

Given the skepticism and question marks Amazon faced for its four-to-five year window, it seems ambitious for the United Arab Emirates to have a working system that covers the entire country within a year.

The project’s engineer has said fingerprint and eye recognition systems will be used to protect the drones and their packages. This adds more layers of complexity to a challenging project.

Drone delivery seems the perfect fit for a place known for excesses such as indoor skiing. But whether it can be done, and executed quickly remains to be seen.

A drone is displayed during Virtual Future Exhibition. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

Maktoum looks through a visor as he tests an unmanned aerial drone during the Virtual Future Exhibition. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

Maktoum, left, and his son watch the drone. (Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters)

Disclosure: Bezos owns The Washington Post.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.



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Matt McFarland · February 10, 2014

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