From Mobiles to Drones: The Next Leapfrog Technologies

Alice Agogino Agogino Speaks at Clinton Global Initiative – University (CGI U) on April 2, 2016. More photos of this Panel and CGI-U at UC Berkeley. Agogino also hosted “office hours” with participants. See photos of the session.

UC Berkeley and the Blum Center for Developing Economies were honored to host the 2016 CGI U with Former President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton,  where university representatives, policymakers, and topic experts from around the world work together with university students to jump start and share innovative ideas for global change. See more at Blum Center news and the summary article on Committing to a Better World.

Abstract: Over 1 billion people worldwide live more than two kilometers from a passable road. Without reliable transportation, many of the world’s poor lack a basic foundation for economic growth. However, just as mobile phones leapfrogged landlines, drones and other new technologies may allow us to overcome geographical barriers such as impassable roads, mountains, and rivers, and bring the tools for economic development to those living at the last mile. While the increased use of drones has raised public safety and security concerns, drones also have the potential to transport supplies and services—such as medicines, market goods, and broadband Internet—to some of the world’s hardest-to-reach regions. In this session, panelists and CGI U commitment-makers will explore how to:

  • Engineer safe and low-cost drones that can be built and repaired in the regions where they are needed most.
  • Build off of successful mobile phone platforms and efforts to utilize drones, satellites, and lasers to deliver affordable internet services and ensure access to opportunity in remote parts of the world.
  • Support and advance other new technologies that enable online learning and market expansion to last mile communities.

Moderator: Dan Costa, Editor in Chief,, Ziff Davis


  • Alice Agogino, Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley
  • Lauren Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer, BioCarbon Engineering
  • Dava Newman, Deputy Administrator, NASA
  • Paola Santana, Co-Founder, Matternet