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Developing Countries: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Department for International Development

UIN 38662, tabled on 26 May 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the potential use and effectiveness of unmanned aerial vehicle technology in supporting the UK's international development agenda.

Answered on

6 June 2016

It is in the interest of the UK taxpayer, as well as beneficiaries on the ground, ‚Äéthat the Department for International Development scrutinises the most cost-effective means of delivering aid, especially when responding to crises. In some cases technology can provide valuable advantages in terms of efficiency and cost effectiveness, as well as enabling the ability to respond rapidly to crises and assist those in the hardest to reach places.

The Department has recently commissioned a review of the potential of a number of Frontier Technologies including Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology, which will help us identify potential applications as well as risks.

There are a small number of examples of UAV technologies currently being trialled in DFID programmes. This includes a small-scale trial of UAV mapping to inform disaster preparedness, mitigation and response efforts in Nepal. There is also research being conducted in the natural and physical sciences arena, including on climate extremes which have an impact on vulnerable populations in developing countries.