Flying Labs in more than 25 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America are seeing more and more organizations deploying to disaster areas without coordinating their drone operations. This lack of coordination can lead to hazardous interventions. As such, there is a pressing need to improve coordination and accountability mechanisms to expand the positive impact of drones in humanitarian action. We’re therefore thrilled to announce that we’ve been selected as a 2019 Twilio Impact Fund Grant recipient to improve both safety and accountability in humanitarian drone missions.
WeRobotics and Flying Labs work with 25+ Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) around the world. They have expressed to us the need to register humanitarian drone pilots to improve coordination and fast-track flight permissions. We also hear from Flying Labs that local communities want a more effective way to hold drone pilots accountable during humanitarian operations. Thanks to our partnership with Twilio.org, we’ll be developing a dedicated SMS platform to register drone pilots and approve flight permissions quickly, significantly reducing the risk of drone collisions while improving coordination and accelerating response efforts. SMS is also the most effective way for Flying Labs to communicate with the communities they serve. To this end, the funding from Twilio will also enable us to set up a dedicated SMS-based complaint mechanism for local communities to report their concerns when drone pilots operate in their area.
We’re grateful for the invaluable support from Twilio.org and excited to get started. To learn more about our humanitarian program at WeRobotics, please see AidRobotics.