Compete for $10,000 with the Drone Social Innovation Award

  • August 20, 2014 · 7:00 PM

The Drone Social Innovation Award is a $10,000 prize for the most socially beneficial, documented use of a low cost drone. We hope you will consider putting together a project to compete for this award. Entries are due June 20. An FAQ for this is pasted below, and you can see more details at

www.dugn.org/prizes

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DRONE SOCIAL INNOVATION AWARD

The Drone User Group Network's Drone Social Innovation Award is a $10,000 prize for the most socially beneficial, documented use of a drone platform costing less than $3,000. Through this prize we hope to spur innovation, investment, and attention to the positive role this technology can play in our society. We believe that flying robots are a technology with tremendous potential to make our world a better place, and we are excited that they are cheap and accessible enough that regular people and community groups can have their own. The Drone Social Innovation Award is sponsored by NEXA Capital Partners.

How do I submit an entry?
Please send a link to a 2-4 minute YouTube video along with a 1-2 page write up about your project to [masked] . The video and write up should both address who you are, what your project is, address the evaluation criteria listed below, and include some comments from people who have benefited from your work. It should also show your drone in action doing whatever it is you are talking about. Submission materials should be in English. Video quality is not an evaluation criteria, but we hope that your submission will effectively tell the story of the great work you have done. We will acknowledge receipt of all entries, and we may ask you for additional information as we narrow down our list of possible winners.

If you think you might be interested in submitting an entry for the award, we ask that you send us a quick email at [masked] by March 17, 2014. This is not a requirement, but it will help us to gauge interest and support our community of participants. 

When can I submit an entry?
Submissions will be accepted from January 1, 2014 - June 20, 2014. We expect to announce a final winner in July. What are the evaluation criteria?
There are three tiers of evaluation criteria. In order of importance they include:

Tier 1
Depth and type of impact: Did you help a community to better manage their natural resources? Expose government corruption? Assist first responders in a disaster situation? Protect endangered species? Tell us what your drone does to change the world.

Breadth of impact: How many people benefited? How many acres of land were impacted? How many animals or plants were positively affected? Tell us how we might quantify the impact of your project.

Tier 2
Cost: In addition to the $3,000 cap per drone, we have a preference for less expensive solutions. If you can accomplish for $500 the same thing it takes another group $3,000 to do, we'll select the people using the less expensive equipment.

Replicability: How easily could another person or community do what you did to benefit their own area? 

Tier 3
Coolness: We like things that have a little bit of a wow factor.

Popularity: Try to get as many people as possible to like your video. There will be a "people's choice" award for the most popular project, and popularity might factor into the cash prize choice as well. 

Is this prize for an idea, something already done, or a project in progress?

This is a prize for impacts already achieved. The work can be ongoing, but you will be evaluated on the good that has already been done.

What do you consider a drone?
Any flying device that doesn't have a person in it and is computer or remotely controlled will be considered a drone for the purposes of this award. 

Who is eligible to win the prize?

Any individual, community group, non-profit, or business anywhere in the world is eligible as long as we are legally allowed to send you money from the U.S. For example, a farmers cooperative in Zambia would be eligible. A group operating out of a country that is sanctioned under US law may be recognized for their work, but would not be able to receive the prize money.

Why is there a price cap on the drone platform?
We wanted to focus the award on platforms that individuals or community organizations could afford to acquire themselves. Also, we wanted the prize amount to be meaningful relative to the cost of equipment. 

What do you include in the $3,000 count?
We are including the cost of the aerial platform, sensors (such as a camera) on that platform, control equipment, and any ground station. Labor, travel, software used for post processing of imagery, and other costs not related to equipment are not included in the tally. You may use multiple flight platforms that together total more than $3,000, but the most expensive unmanned aerial system may not cost more than $3,000.

How will you verify the total cost of the platform?
We ask that you give a general outline of your costs in your video and written submission. If you are selected as a finalist, we will ask you for a bill of materials. 

Will there only be one prize awarded?
In addition to the grand prize winner who will receive the $10,000, there will be a "people's choice" award for the video with the most likes. We may also recognize second and third place winners and/or category prizes. However, we currently only have funds for one cash prize. We are continuing to raise funds to be able to provide additional cash awards. If you are interested in being a sponsor for this award, please contact us at [masked] . 

Who is doing the judging?
The leaders of the drone user groups in our network will be evaluating entries along with a panel of expert advisers. No one involved in the judging is eligible to receive an award.

What can I spend the prize money on if I win?
Anything you want. There are no strings attached. This is a prize to recognize good works already performed, and it incurs no further obligations nor should it be considered compensation for services.

Aren't drones dangerous and/or illegal?
Drones are usually flown in a safe manner by responsible operators. However, as with any vehicle, safety is up to the person deploying the drone, plane, car, or bicycle. Any submissions that include unsafe practices such as flying low/hovering over a crowd of people will be automatically disqualified. We reserve the right to decide for ourselves what constitutes unsafe flying. In the US, it is against federal regulations for individuals or private organizations to charge money for services performed with a drone. However, the use of unmanned aerial systems for non-commercial purposes is currently allowed. If you have questions about the law in your state, city, or country, please consult someone with legal training in this area.

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  • Will D.

    Is this event a showcase of the ideas, or just the due date for an online entry (not a physical meetup)?

    July 13

    • Timothy R.

      This is a due date for the entries, not a physical meetup.

      July 13

  • Ed B.

    And who are you? Where does the money come from? And will you claim rights to the idea?

    February 13, 2014

    • Timothy R.

      Hi Ed, I'm the founder of the Drone User Group Network, of which NYC DUG is a member. The money is coming from NEXA Capital Partners, a DC based firm that makes investments and provides advisory services in the aerospace and infrastructure sector. There is no transfer of rights for any of the ideas entered into the competition, although we hope they will inspire other people to do similar socially beneficial things with their equipment. If you have further questions, feel free to email me at [masked] .

      1 · February 14, 2014

    • Ed B.

      Hi Tim. Look, here is my take. Ten grand is a cheap price to pay for the first look at the ideas of a group of people who are first adapters and innovators. And while there is no transfer of rights, there are still no protections of the ideas submitted. And this comes from a company whose sole job seems to be to make money off this new technology. This is not meant as an attack on you but as a warning to the innovative to be careful with your ideas. And this does turn to collaborative nature of the group into something different and of great value to you.

      February 15, 2014

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