Patrick Meier's Posts (59)

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New! Drones for Good Picture Book Series for Kids!


Hi there! We've just launched our new and inclusive Picture Book Series on Drones for Good!

The series focuses on local expertise and drones for good. The books are written by and with local drone experts, editors and illustrators from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The first book in the series focuses on mangrove protection in Panama. This project is a partnership between Flying Labs and WeRobotics. Each book in the series is based on a real-world drones-for-good project led by Flying Labs and their local partners. We'd be so grateful for your kind help in spreading the word. Feel free to retweet us!

Check out the trailer for our first book on The Magic of Mangroves and get your copy from our Kickstarter page!



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We’ve given this professional training to dozens of international and national disaster management organizations during the past half-decade. We’ve also run this training for both new and highly experienced drone pilots in dozens of countries around the world. The purpose of this training is to make you an effective and responsible team leader when deploying drones in disaster response. This training is also a great fit if you’re simply curious to learn more about the latest on the use of drones in humanitarian efforts. Participants who successfully complete this self-paced training will receive an official certificate signed by WeRobotics, Direct Relief, MIT and UPenn. 

In short, we've been running professional trainings on the use of drones for disaster response for as long as we've been leading humanitarian drone missions (since 2015). To learn more about the training and to read testimonials from previous participants, please visit this page.

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Want this affordable, locally operable and repairable cargo drone? Flyings Labs are using this drone in Nepal, Fiji and the Dominican Republic to deliver medicines, patient samples and more. Like any drone, there are trade-offs, of course. It's a simple solution, nothing fancy, no hype, just does what it needs to do. To learn more and get in touch, please follow this link.

Please note that we are a not-for-profit organization (WeRobotics). Our focus is on knowledge transfer, technology transfer, and opportunity transfer to local experts in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As such, we are technology agnostic and obviously do not develop cargo drone solutions to make a profit. In fact, the only reason we started re-purposing the M600 into a cargo drone in 2017 was because there were no affordable alternatives that were as mature, widely used and reliable as the M600. This still seems to be the case today.

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Dear All,
We've just launched an international competition in partnership with the Omidyar Network and would very much value your kind help in sharing this new opportunity far and wide.
As the name -- Unusual Solvers -- suggests, we are not looking for the same, usual suspects to pitch their solutions. Our hope with this competition is to connect with local, talented individuals from the Global South, and specifically those who are rarely if ever part of such competitions. This is why we need this opportunity to be communicated far and wide, i.e., well beyond our own immediate networks.
Many thanks for your kind support.
With gratitude,
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Local drone experts, entrepreneurs and engineers from 23 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania have signed this Charter on Equal Opportunity & Inclusion regarding the use of drones for social good such as humanitarian aid, public health, sustainable development and nature conservation. 

The Charter calls on both regulators and international organizations to enable not hinder equal opportunity and inclusion. Give local experts the opportunity to lead and participate meaningfully. Trust that local knowledge and local ownership are key for sustainable impact. This is particularly important in the context of disaster management. First responders to disasters by definition are -- and always have been -- local actors. 

We would be grateful for your help in disseminating this Charter widely should you agree with these principles. Thank you kindly.

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Dear All,

We're pleased to announce the upcoming launch of our newest online course, which several colleagues at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have already taken. 

The course draws on the collective lessons learned and best practices in the use of cargo drones in public health during the past 5 years, including the most recent insights and real-world deployments. As such, the course combines WeRobotics' first-hand experience in operational cargo drone projects with the first-hand experience of our partners and the expertise of other leaders in the cargo drone space. Full details here.

We'd be very grateful if you could kindly forward this new opportunity to your relevant contacts and networks. We also hope you'll be able to join us for this course and share your own expertise and experience.

Many thanks and very best,


Dr. Patrick P. Meier
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Web | LinkedIn | Twitter | FB | Blog


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We're pleased to announce the launch of the WeRobotics Online Training Institute and our first course on Drones in Humanitarian Action. We'd be very grateful for your help in forwarding this new opportunity to your contacts.

Commercial drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are increasingly used in a wide range of humanitarian contexts. For years, WeRobotics (and before it the Humanitarian UAV Network) provided professional, in-person trainings in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the US to improve the safe, responsible, coordinated and effective use of drones to support humanitarian efforts. Trainees have included humanitarian professionals from dozens of organizations including:

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN/OCHA), UN Development Program (UNDP), UNICEF, World Food Program (WFP), Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Direct Relief, NetHope, Medair, Global Medic, USAID, FEMA, AAAS, MIT Lincoln Labs, European Commission, ACF International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), local universities and national & local stakeholders including National Disaster Management Organizations in Peru, Myanmar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Dominican Republic, Maldives, Fiji, Seychelles and beyond.

With the launch of the WeRobotics Online Training Institute, WeRobotics is now making this unique training available online to even more organizations and professionals. The online training, Drones in Humanitarian Action, has been prepared by the AidRobotics Team at WeRobotics. This team brings together over 40 years of professional experience in humanitarian aid, complex emergencies and humanitarian technologies. WeRobotics will continue to provide in-person trainings through their growing network of Flying Labs in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the South Pacific in addition to customized trainings for partner organizations.

The new online training launched by WeRobotics is instrumental for anyone engaged in—or expecting to support future—disaster response efforts. The course will be of equal interest to participants who want to better understand what it takes to lead humanitarian drone missions safely, responsibly and effectively. As such, the training is also ideal for drone companies including pilots working in the commercial space. That said, no background in disaster response or drones is required for this foundational course.

For more information on the course and how to sign up, please click here.

All the best,


Dr. Patrick P. Meier
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Web | LinkedIn | Twitter | FB | Blog


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How We're Using Drones for Zika Control


Mosquitoes are one of the world’s biggest killers, responsible for spreading deadly diseases including Zika, dengue and malaria. Among the many ways being researched to combat this threat is the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) – flooding the environment with non-biting, sterile male mosquitoes, which after mating produce sterile eggs and a reduction in the local mosquito population. One of the challenges for the potential use of this technique is efficiently spreading millions of sterile mosquitoes. Ground based release of sterilized mosquitos (via car/truck) have proven effective in developing countries but this depends entirely on the existing of roads in rural areas. Even if dirt roads exist, they often become unusable during the rainy seasons, and not everyone lives near a road in the first place. This is where drones come in. Unlike cars, drones can release sterile mosquitos in a much for uniform and targeted manner.

So for the past year we have been working together with the IAEA Insect Pest Control Lab on a drone-based mosquito dispersion mechanism, as part of USAID’s Grand Challenge on combating Zika and related diseases. We're now preparing to field test this drone-based release mechanism in Latin America using live mosquitos. Here's the latest!


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Disasters in the South Pacific are a reality. In the past 10 years, major Cyclones have seriously affected hundreds of islands across Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and Samoa to name a few; disrupting millions of lives and causing millions of dollars of damage. Many of the countries in the Pacific region are also exposed to other high risk disasters including earthquakes, tsunami, storm surge, volcanic eruptions, landslides and droughts, not to mention the growing threat of Climate Change.

What does all this have to do with Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Aerial imagery is “Big Data” challenge. It can take hours and more often days to analyze aerial imagery following major disasters. This explains why the World Bank, WeRobotics and OpenAerialMap have just launched the Open AI Challenge focused on the use of artificial intelligence to automatically analyze aerial imagery in the South Pacific. More information on the challenge and how to participate and download the aerial imagery is available here

We'd be very grateful for your help in sharing this opportunity far and wide. 


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Sign Up for the WeRobotics Roster!


WeRobotics is an international NGO dedicated to scaling the positive impact of social good projects through the localization and responsible use of appropriate robotics solutions such as UAVs/drones. We work in multiple sectors including humanitarian aid, global development, public health, nature conservation and agriculture. Over the past year, we have carried out numerous projects and trainings in Nepal, Tanzania, Peru, Maldives, Haiti, Senegal, Fiji, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Dominican Republic and Liberia, for example. Future projects will take us back to many of these countries in addition to new ones like Indonesia, Myanmar and Panama. WeRobotics supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank USAID and has received funding from World Food Program (WFP), UN Development Program (UNDP) and others. We have formal partnerships with ESRI, DJI, Parrot, senseFly, Pix4D and other industry leaders.


Given the increasing demand for our expertise and services, we are building a roster of top notch experts with proven expertise in range of fields such as operating aerial and marine robots, geographic information systems, imagery analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning, cargo logistics, web development, communications and storytelling. If selected, you will be invited to join short term projects (typically ranging from 1 to 7 days) in various countries around the world. Only applicants who make it to the final selection round will be contacted for interviews. All information provided below will be kept strictly confidential.

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The World Food Program (WFP) is officially partnering with WeRobotics to develop coordination mechanisms to guide the safe and effective use of aerial robotics (UAVs) in response to humanitarian disasters. With 80 country offices around the world, WFP provides food assistance to some 80 million people in nearly 80 countries each year. WFP was also one of the very first humanitarian organizations to explore the use of UAVs back in 2007. So we’re deeply honored that WFP selected WeRobotics as the implementing partner for this important project. The need for coordination mechanisms is absolutely imperative given the increasing use of UAVs following major disasters. To be sure, the lack of formal coordination mechanisms is already presenting serious problems during relief efforts.

Learn more about the WFP-WeRobotics approach here.

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The Amazon is home to thousands of local indigenous communities spread across very remote areas. As a result, these sparsely populated communities rarely have reliable access to essential medicines and public health services. Local doctors in the region of Contamana report an average of 45 snakebites per month and no rapid access to antivenom, for example. WeRobotics recently traveled to the rainforest to learn more about these challenges, and to explore whether cargo drones (UAVs) could realistically be used to overcome some of these problems in a sustainable manner. We are excited to share the results of our latest field tests in this new report (PDF); Spanish version here. We were able to deliver anti-venom and blood samples to a remote village about 40km away from the nearest town. A regular boat (canoe) takes up to 6 hours to complete the journey. For the video documentaries and high-resolution photos, please follow this link. We're back in Contamana this week carrying out additional field-tests. 

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The Amazon is home to thousands of local indigenous communities spread across very remote areas. As a result, these sparsely populated peoples rarely have reliable access to essential medicines and public health services. Local doctors in the region report an average of 45 snakebites per month and no rapid access to anti-venom meds, for example. We recently traveled to the rainforest to learn more about these challenges and to explore whether cargo drones could realistically be used to overcome some of these challenges in a sustainable manner. We’re excited to share that our cargo drone flights in the Amazon rainforest were a big success! Learn more here.

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In August 2015, the Swiss humanitarian organization FSD kindly hired me as a consultant to work on the EU-ECHO funded Drones in Humanitarian Action program. I had the pleasure of working closely with FSD and team during the past 16 months. Today represents the culmination of a lot of hard work by many dedicated individuals. Today we’re launching our comprehensive report on “Drones in Humanitarian Action: A Guide to the Use of Airborne Systems in Humanitarian Crises.” More here.

Very grateful for your help in disseminating this report widely.
Thank you

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I've been working with the Swiss Humanitarian Organization FSD on a number of Humanitarian UAV Research Projects since 2015. The results of one of these projects is finally public: The Drones in Humanitarian Actions Survey, funded by EU Humanitarian Aid. The purpose of this survey was to take a closer look at how humanitarian professionals view the use of aerial robotics or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The survey asked aid workers working in different clusters what they think about the use of UAVs in different situations. Close to 200 disaster responders working across 61 different countries took part in this unique survey.

The results show that the majority of such professionals (60%) believe that UAVs can have a positive impact in disaster response operations, and that only a quarter (22%) view their use negatively in the wake of a disaster. But almost all humanitarian professionals surveyed (87%) said that they did not have first-hand knowledge of using UAVs, which is striking. When asked about the use of UAVs in armed conflict settings, 40% of the respondents believed UAVs should never be used in these situations, while 41% said they would consider using UAVs even in such cases.

Another interesting result was that a majority of those surveyed (57%) believed that local populations feel threatened by UAVs, even in non-conflict settings. But again 87% of those surveyed did not have first-hand knowledge of using UAVs. What’s more, this perception is not backed up by the field experience of WeRobotics, Humanitarian UAV Network, Drone Adventures, World Bank, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and FSD, to name just a few organizations that have actually used UAVs operationally in multiple countries worldwide.

Hopefully our continuing work at WeRobotics and our continued use of the Humanitarian UAV Code of Conduct will change such the results of future surveys for the better as we aim to educate more humanitarians on the safe, effective and ethical use of UAVs across the world. If you wish to read the full report and survey results, you can download it here

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