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Five Pioneers In Innovative Philanthropy Honored By 2019 AUVSI XCELLENCE Humanitarian Award

Press release   •   May 02, 2019 15:00 BST

AUVSI 2019

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Five winners of the second annual XCELLENCE Humanitarian Award were recognized Thursday as pioneers in using drones for good. DJI, theworld’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, sponsored the award and helped announce the winners at the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) XPONENTIAL conference at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“We’ve seen an expanding implementation of drone technology in the past year, from locating humans lost under cluttered forest canopies, to dropping critical medications in Africa, Oceania and Latin America, to enabling students to program drones and fly autonomous missions,” said Mario Rebello, Country Manager for North America and Vice President of the Americas at DJI. “These innovators are a true proof of drone innovation driven not just by the technology itself, but by its users. We are thrilled to see drones embraced widely across an expanding range of industries, and we hope the award will inspire more drone operators around the world to accomplish great feats in their own communities.”

The 2019 AUVSI XCELLENCE Humanitarian Award saw a significant number of participants providing profound, powerful insight into how drone technology can be implemented in different areas. Among them, the five winners were most notable for their works in disaster relief and public safety, education and training, firefighting, wildlife conservation, and ecosystem solutions. The winners are:

North Carolina Department of Transportation – Using drones in an innovative response to Hurricane Florence (United States)

  • Swoop Aero – Vaccine and health supply delivery on the island nation of Vanuatu (Vanuatu)
  • NASA/MIT Search and Rescue Under the Canopy (SARUC) – Locating people and other important targets lost in challenging and cluttered forest areas (United States)
  • Project Lifesaver International – Search and rescue for ‘at risk’ individuals who are prone to the life-threatening behavior of wandering (United States)
  • Zipline International – Medical drone delivery operations in Africa (Rwanda and Ghana)

"The Humanitarian Awards demonstrate the profound ability of the recipients to positively impact lives through unmanned systems technology,” said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI. "We proudly recognize the five winners and hope their accomplishments will serve as an inspiration to utilize unmanned aircraft systems to accomplish remarkable achievements for our society.”

The five organizations will each receive a $5,000 USD donation for their ground-breaking humanitarian and philanthropic efforts.

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The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics — represents corporations and professionals from more than 60 countries involved in industry, government and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets.

For more information, visit For more information about the AUVSI XCELLENCE Awards and XPONENTIAL, visit

DJI is a global leader in developing and manufacturing civilian drones and aerial imaging technology for personal and professional use. DJI was founded and is run by people with a passion for remote-controlled helicopters and experts in flight-control technology and camera stabilization. The company is dedicated to making aerial photography and filmmaking equipment and platforms more accessible, reliable and easier to use for creators and innovators around the world. DJI’s global operations currently span across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and its revolutionary products and solutions have been chosen by customers in over 100 countries for applications in filmmaking, construction, emergency response, agriculture, conservation and many other industries.

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