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Sun, Jul 16, 2017

Amazon and the U.K. CAA Winner of 'Design a Drone' Competition

Finalist From Northern Ireland Is Named U.K. winner

Amazon, in partnership with the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has today announced the results of the 'Design a Drone' competition. Over 1,700 students participated in the competition from across the U.K.

Hannah M of Fourtowns Primary School in Ballymena, Northern Ireland was awarded the top spot for designing her Flying Cheetah drone, which would be used by forest rangers to protect cheetahs and other wildlife.

The national winner was selected from the 12 regional finalists and will travel to the Amazon Prime Air Lab in Cambridge, U.K., where her design will be exhibited for a year.

“I was really impressed by the quality of the entries, they were full of creativity and anything-is-possible optimism," said Lea Simpson, Leader of the Frontier Technology Livestreaming Team at the Department for International Development and competition judge. "I believe competitions like these do an important job of sowing early seeds that technology can be a force for good. I have high hope for how this will shape tomorrow's STEM leaders.” Lea's team is exploring how technologies like drones can contribute to solving development challenges.

Regional finalists and runners up from across the country were awarded their prizes in special ceremonies during school assemblies. Winning students took home gift baskets of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) prizes. The first place winner in each region also earned a cash donation of £1,000 for their school, to be spent on in-school STEM resources.

The competition helped raise awareness of the CAA's Drone Code, a simple set of rules and guidelines which outline how to fly drones safely and within the law in the U.K..

All primary school students in Years Two to Five in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were eligible to enter the competition. Students were asked to design their interpretation of a delivery drone to serve a humanitarian purpose or improve society, such as first-response medical aid, sending flowers to a loved one who is unwell or delivering toys to children in need.

“All the entries were absolutely amazing and it was great to see so many students showing an interest in drones," said Jonathan Nicholson, Assistant Director of Communications at the CAA. "By the time they are adults, drones could well be playing key roles in everyday life. But for that to happen we need everyone who flies a drone now to do so safely.”

“I'm delighted that the Design a Drone competition encouraged these students to unleash their creative thinking on how drones can be used to improve society," said Lauren Kisser, Operations Director at Amazon Prime Air. "The entries we received were full of innovative and thoughtful ideas that could very well change the world one day.”

Amazon has a Development Center in Cambridge working on a range of projects including Prime Air, the company's delivery system designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using drones.

(Image provided with U.K. CAA news release)

FMI: www.caa.co.uk

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