South Pacific Flying Labs
Our solution's stage of development:Growth
WeRobotics democratizes the Fourth Industrial Revolution by localizing appropriate robotics solutions in the Global South through our Flying Labs in Asia, Africa & Latin America. These labs provide training, lead projects and create local jobs & startups focused on Robotics Services. Our solution extends our proven model to include youth.
We want to equip young people with skills for the 21st century by localizing drone technology right into the hands of local community members that will use it the best and by training disadvantaged youth in robotics technology. To achieve this sustainably we are setting up South Pacific Flying Labs (SPFL) in collaboration with the International Federation of the Red Cross. SPFL will focus on delivering local robotics training in aerial and marine imagery, running both aerial and marine robotics projects with local youth. Per our Flying Labs model, SFPL will become self sufficient as a locally driven social enterprise.
Why our solution will solve the problem:
The use of emerging technology enhances how communities can respond to 21st century problems. Young people constitute more than 2/3rds of the population in some countries and play a key role in accelerating how technology is used for social good. We ensure young people can be ‘future fit’ – by enabling a new workforce skilled in the use of robotics. Flying Labs are staffed locally and globally supported to be a hub for training, project implementation and learning. Our Labs have already led to the incorporation of 4 start-up businesses and training of 100+ students globally.
Our target outcomes:
We teach disadvantaged youth how to explore their world using aerial and marine robotics. This builds their confidence and technical skills to expand their imaginations, allowing them to connect to nature, wildlife and other interests. This in turn equips youth with the skills and experience they need to take advantage of Fourth Industrial Revolution in terms of jobs and employment. We will deploy our solution through our Flying Labs. This means engaging youth directly on identifying priority challenges, getting trained to address those challenges, and creating solutions for said challenges.
How we will measure our progress:
The populations we will benefit initially:
The technologies we employ:
Why our solution is unique:
We have already developed a unique and proven solution (Flying Labs) to localize emerging technologies responsibly and sustainably in the Global South and create local jobs and startups. We have labs in Asia, Africa and Latin America. With this grant (coupled with others), we will launch a South Pacific Flying Labs in collaboration with the Red Cross, with a strong focus on youth empowerment in the region. Our solution is unique because it is cross-disciplinary, cross-robotics, networked, and global; enabling South-to-South capacity building.
Why our solution is human-centered:
We bring appropriate robotics solutions to local communities that do not have access to this type of technology. All our projects are human-centered and driven by local demand per our Flying Labs framework. All our Flying Labs are run entirely by local staff who identify priority projects and partners. WeRobotics serves as an enabler and accelerator of skills and technology transfer to our Flying Labs so that our local staff and partners are empowered to take the lead on implementing their projects with relevant robotics solutions.
How people will access our solution:
Robotics solutions will be deployed via our Flying Labs. Local communities including local youth have direct access to these robotics platforms by renting them for a nominal cost as part of our formal rental program.
Technology-Readiness Level:9 (Commercial)
How we will sustain our team financially:
WeRobotics has secured support from the Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank, USAID and others. In addition, we are in the final stages of two additional grant applications. Furthermore, we provide a range of professional consultancy services to multiple clients such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Food Program (WFP). This enables us to sustain ourselves financially as we grow and scale our program on youth empowerment.
The factors limiting our success:
The main factors have to do with regulations around the use of aerial and marine robotics. In some countries, these regulations are still largely undefined whilst in others, they are so strict as to prevent any meaningful innovation. This explains why we are liaising directly with relevant aviation and maritime authorities. In fact, we use our Flying Labs as an opportunity to raise awareness about the potential for robotics solutions and directly engage relevant authorities in our workshops and events.
How long we have been working on our solution:2 years
How long it will take to develop a pilot:3-6 months
How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:6-12 months
Our expected annual budget:
How much of our budget we've secured to date:
Why we're applying to Solve:
WeRobotics is creating a global network of skilled, young people in the Global South who have expertise in applying robotics for a range of social good applications including disaster resilience, nature conservation and global development. Our Flying Labs network directly collaborates with one another. For example, Nepal Flying Labs advises the rest of the network on the use of robotics in mountainous terrain. We hope the Solve community will help bolster the Flying Labs network, adding expertise and mentorship from a variety of backgrounds to help enable an even greater scale of robotics-based social good projects.
Our current partners:
Red Cross Red Crescent, UN Development Program, World Food Program, World Bank, DJI, senseFly, Parrot Group, ESRI, Pix4D, Planet Labs
- Patrick Meier Chief Executive Officer, Pacific Flying Labs