The autonomous era of mobility is literally taking off in the UAE, and Artificial Intelligence is at the core of the drive to go robo.
The country is putting its money where its mouth is with the latest pod tests further testimony that the Emirates are crossing a milestone in their aspirations.
Take a Listen to this Ai-Pod
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in cooperation with Next Future Transportation, launched the first tests of the world’s first autonomous pods on the sidelines of the World Government Summit.
“The autonomous pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. They can be coupled in 15 to 20 seconds or detached, depending on the destination of riders, in 5 seconds,” said RTA.
Auto Pods come with cameras and electromechanical technologies for coupling and detaching processes, with a battery that lasts 3 hours.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, RTA, said, “The pilot test of driverless units is in the context of transforming Dubai into the smartest city worldwide and echoes the Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25% of mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transportation by 2030.”
“The RTA has signed an agreement with the American Next Future Inc. to develop autonomous units named (NX1) as part of the initial phase of Dubai Future Accelerators. The prototypes of these units are manufactured in Italy and shipped to Dubai to put them on trials. These pods run on a virtual pre-configured and programmed lane and are overseen by the operational system.”
In the eye of AI
SAP CEO Bill McDermott today praised the UAE’s efforts in using AI to transform the country’s digital economy, fuel job growth and accelerate innovation.
“The UAE is taking bold steps to bring its digital dream to life by creating the world’s first Ministry of State for AI,” Bill McDermott said at the World Government Summit being held in Dubai today. “This is an excellent model for responsible planning across private and public sectors. It will lay the foundation for a robust digital economy for generations to come.”
SAP recently announced a 5-year $200 million investment plan, and launched a Co-Innovation Lab in its regional headquarters in Dubai.
“The SAP Training and Development Institute plans to build skills and knowledge in the Middle East and North Africa worth USD 100 million by 2022,” said a company statement.
“Machines can’t dream, only humans do that,” Bill McDermott said. “With careful foresight, it is possible to create an augmented human experience through smart machines and people working in harmony.”
Robots are coming
The UAE Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with Cartoon Network, has announced its latest initiative as part of UAE Innovation Month 2018 that will see children from across Dubai invited to build their own robot and artificially intelligent (AI) cartoon character during Rise Dubai Creek Harbour, on 23 and 24 February, dubbed: “The Robots are Coming”
Bots for rain drops
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) addressed World Health Organization’s (WHO)estimation that 844 million people lack access to a basic drinking water service, and that half the world’s population could be living in water stressed areas by 2025.
UAE’s Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science offers a $5 million program designed to encourage scientists and researchers to explore new horizons through advanced science and technology.
Three new projects due to commence this year will be led by internationally recognized and experienced researchers from Russia, USA and China.
Leading a highly innovative study on “Targeted observation and seeding using autonomous unmanned aircraft systems” is Dr Eric W. Frew, who is seeking to develop an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that utilizes in-situ real time data to sense and target suitable clouds for seeding.
With over twenty years’ experience of designing and deploying unmanned aircraft systems, Dr Frew’s current research interests include UAS deployment in complex atmospheric environments among others, information-gathering by mobile robots, and miniature self-deploying systems.
Dr Frew comment that: “Our project differs from other approaches by combining autonomous targeted observation algorithms with unmanned aircraft carrying new miniaturized sensors that can also draw on an observation simulation system rapid enough to enable online decision-making.