WeRobotics is very pleased to announce that our South Pacific Flying Labs won the highly competitive MIT Solve Challenge in New York City this past weekend! In addition, we also won the two other Challenge awards from the Atlassian Foundation and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Our Pacific Flying Labs was competing to provide the best solution to the Youth, Skills and Workforce of the Future track of the MIT Challenge. Some 500 applicants competed in this track. Only 2% were selected as winners, and only 1% of all the applicants received the Atlassian and DFAT awards. Being an MIT Solver gives us special access to the incredible innovation, connections and brilliance of MIT which will allow us to scale our positive impact in the Pacific and beyond.
On Sunday, September 17th, WeRobotics co-founder Patrick Meier pitched our South Pacific Flying Labs in order to teach youth in the region the skills they need to thrive in the 21st Century. Our mission at WeRobotics is to democratize access to appropriate robotics solutions. We do this through our growing network of Flying Labs. These are local innovation labs run entirely by local staff who train others on how to solve local challenges with the help of intelligent and autonomous robotics solutions. The robotics divide is very real, and just like the digital divide is already having dire consequences. Just compare the massive use of aerial robotics (drones) in the US in the humanitarian response to Hurricane Harvey with the almost non-existing use of robotics in the Global South following Hurricanes Irma and Maria this month.
The robotics divide is also impacting other regions of the Global South like the South Pacific. This region is highly disaster prone and directly susceptible to the impact of climate change. In addition, 5 of the region’s islands are classified as least developed countries. This explains why we’re working with local, national and international stakeholders in the region to create the foundations for a South Pacific Flying Labs that will teach local youth the skills they need to thrive in the workforce of the 21st Century. In the process, we hope to inspire these youth to build the region’s resilience by becoming professional humanitarian and environmental drone pilots.
The expert panel of judges for this prestigious competition included Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Laurene Powell Jobs – Founder and President of Emerson Collective, and a plethora of other distinguished panelists. All 3 awards we received this weekend will help us take the first important steps to achieving our social impact goals in the Pacific. Sincerest thanks and gratitude to MIT, Atlassian and DFAT for their invaluable support.