Drones for Good 2016: FAO/IAEA’s ROMEO system for aerial release of sterile male mosquitoes finishes 4th place among over 1000 entries


Team ROMEO (Remotely Operated Mosquito Emission Operation) is a collaborative project between the mosquito group of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, and the German drone manufacturer Height Tech. Together they designed an unmanned aerial release vehicle (UAV) capable of transporting and releasing sterile male mosquitoes by air.

Release by UAV would be cheaper and quicker than current ground release techniques and allow a better distribution and releases in sites inaccessible by road.

The ROMEO release solution was submitted to the Drones for Good competition 2016. This annual event is organized by the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, with a prize of 1 million US Dollars offered to the winner. ROMEO was selected as one of 10 semi-finalists, from over 1,000 entries submitted from no fewer than 165 countries.

The ROMEO team, including Ms Nicole Culbert, from the FAO/IAEA Insect Pest Control Laboratory, travelled to Dubai to give a live presentation and demonstration of the mosquito release concept to a panel of international judges and the general public. Team ROMEO finished in 4th place, narrowly missing out on an entry to the finals.