It turns out UAS can be used for more than wedding videos, champagne delivery, and Martha Stewart’s amusement.
On Tuesday, a window washer in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was 10 floors up the side of a skyscraper when his lift malfunctioned. As the English news blog 7 Days in Dubai reports, police were called to the scene and deployed a drone to help him.
According to one of the officials who came to his aid, the window washer attempted to leave the faulty platform he was working on and was holding onto a window in fear. After clearing out the area, police flew a drone owned by the Abu Dhabi Police (apparently this is a thing that police departments own now) up to where the man was stuck.
Officials used the drone’s microphone to first “calm down the cleaner.” Then, using a camera attached to the flying robot, they identified what exactly was wrong with the rig. After that, the emergency crew on site instructed the worker how to fix the platform. He made it to the ground safely.
Though the United States still faces conflicting policies regarding the legality of drone use, Dubai’s ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has embraced the machines as helpful high-tech tools.
“We want to reach to people before they reach us,” he said when he announced the United Arab Emirates’ Drones for Good award in February 2014. “We want to save time, to shorten distances, to increase effectiveness, and to make services easier.”
The Drones for Good competition awards $1 million to international contestants, and 1 million United Arab Emirates dirham ($272,000) to local and UAE government employees for innovation in the drone space that helps “improve people’s lives and provide positive technological solutions to modern day issues.”