His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa University of Science and Technology, witnessed the launch of the “Khalifa University Autonomous Vehicle”, the first vehicle of its kind in the UAE that can be operated without the need for a driver with a capacity of 12 passengers to transport students and members of the two academic and administrative bodies within the university campus in Sas al-Nakhl .
His Highness also witnessed the signing of an agreement to operate the Emirates Center for Innovation in Information and Communication Technologies “Eptek”, worth 170 million dirhams, signed by Khalifa University, Etisalat Corporation and the British BT Group, which are the founding bodies of “Eptek” as well as the Communications Regulatory Authority and the digital government of the country.
With this initiative, Khalifa University becomes the first in the country to develop an autonomous vehicle on campus that is capable of driving in various external environments, which has contributed to providing a smart and sustainable means of transportation at the university. and promoting sustainable development initiatives in the United Arab Emirates. The Khalifa University autonomous vehicle is fully electric and is the first of its kind in the UAE in terms of its ability to operate in mixed traffic due to its ability to drive autonomously on roads with cars and other vehicles. This innovative and environmentally safe initiative in the field of transportation is a research and development platform for academic staff members and researchers from the Center for Autonomous Systems and Robots at Khalifa University, which includes 50 researchers and modern and advanced laboratory facilities and provides a multidisciplinary environment for conducting research and innovations related to robots and autonomous vehicles.
On this occasion, His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that the initiative to operate an autonomous vehicle on the Khalifa University campus in Sas Al Nakhl embodies the university’s enthusiasm for achieving Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 in supporting the knowledge economy. and placing Abu Dhabi on the list of global destinations for research and development, and contributing to the development of knowledge and human capital in this field. His Highness congratulated the academic staff members and engineering students who achieved this outstanding achievement, of which we are proud to testify at a national university in the country.
During the visit, His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with the students of the Elite Program engaged in national service, who presented their engineering projects in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, information and communication systems, in presence of the Brigadier General. Obaid Ali Al-Mansoori, director of institutional communication and media of the National Service Authority.
His Highness also learned about the research projects related to the autonomous vehicle and took a group photo with the recruits. Following the launch of the autonomous vehicle, His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan toured the buildings on the Khalifa University campus, while His Highness was accompanied on his tour by members of the Khalifa University Board of Trustees, Salem Rashid Al Nuaimi , Chairman of the Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company “SEHA” and Salem Butti. Salem Al Qubaisi, CEO of the Emirates Space Agency, Hamid Al Shammari, Executive Vice President of the Group and Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Human Resources at Mubadala Investment Company and Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University .
His Highness also inspected the Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory, which includes an operating room for the autonomous vehicle, where he learned how the vehicle works and is managed, which includes intelligent systems that help manage the vehicle, enhance safety and protection aspects, monitor its movement and profit. of it to achieve innovation and development, as well as future plans that include a project. It meets all the conditions necessary to drive a vehicle without a driver. His Highness learned about the characteristics of the vehicle, especially with regard to the security and protection system in the autonomous vehicle, which includes tracking technologies, a surveillance camera network system, among others. While listening to an explanation from Dr. Lakmal Seneviranti, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Khalifa University Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems, and Dr. George Manuel Miranda Dias, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The Khalifa University Autonomous Vehicle has features that allow it to detect and avoid potential obstacles thanks to sensors, cameras, light detection, rangefinder, GPS, sensor data units, and inertia measurement.
The vehicle is equipped with an on-board Wi-Fi network to capture the data generated during operations, in addition to its ability to drive safely and effectively autonomously in various environments with different traffic movements, such as isolated roads shared with pedestrians. and bicycles, roads that witness slow-moving cars, as well as volatile weather conditions.
During the visit, His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was briefed on a number of innovative projects at the university, with the participation of students from the Elite Program, under the supervision of three members of the academic staff: Dr. Fahd Al Maskari, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Dr. Majid Khonji, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dr. Hamad Karaki, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Khalifa University. The projects presented included an “autonomous robot” designed by university students under the supervision of Dr. Majid Khonji, where the robot won first place in the category of ground robots during the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport 2021, in addition to another project for an autonomous drone designed by university students and under the supervision of Dr. Hamad Al-Karaki, who obtained second place in the drone category in the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport 2021, in addition to the first prototype of the Elite Team , a flexible and autonomous aircraft project developed by a group of Elite Team students under the supervision of Dr. Yahya Al-Zweiri, associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also received information on a group of projects from the Emirates Center for Information and Communication Technology Innovation “Eptech” under the supervision of Dr. Nawaf Al-Mousa, Acting Director of the Center “Eptech”.
Members of the centre’s board of directors attended the signing of the agreement for the operation of the “Eptek” center. Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Mualla, Undersecretary for Academic Affairs for Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Dr. Tim Wetley, BT Director General for Applied Research, and Saleh Sayed Ahmed, Head of the Department of Digital Services and Customer Experience Division Technology Officer at Etisalat Corporation and Dr. Steve Griffiths, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Khalifa University.
Saleh Sayed Ahmed Youssef, Vice President of Digital Platform and Customer Experience at Etisalat, said: We at Etisalat are pleased to support the Emirates Innovation Center for Information and Communications Technology “EBTIC” in a way that enables it to play its role. in leading the technology of advanced and innovative intelligent systems for the next generation. From networks, providing ICT services and applications that enable the next generation of networks. And as the leading operator of the 5G network, Etisalat continues to work on the adoption and launch of the latest technologies and digital solutions in a way that contributes to achieving its strategic vision of leading the digital future to empower societies.Therefore, Etisalat hopes to strengthen its relationships with the Emirates Center for Innovation in Information and Communication Technology, in a way that contributes to achieving development and having a greater role in the digital life of researchers, consumers and companies.
For his part, Paul O’Brien, Director of Intelligent Systems, Security Services and Research Operations in Applied Research at BT Corporation, said: “We are pleased to continue the partnerships with the EPTECH Center in its third phase of operations, as the The center has proven successful in many joint initiatives with our partners Etisalat and Khalifa University. He added: “BT Corporation has a long-term commitment to the Middle East region, and we are pleased to continue this commitment to enriching research and innovation capabilities in the region. We also look forward to the next five years, which will witness a remarkable development at the EPTECH Center. “The EPTIC Center has been contributing since 2009 to the advancement of innovation in smart and advanced systems. In June 2021, the center won the category “Best cloud automation tool and best use of automation” for its project developed by “SBL Solutions”, during the prestigious competition that the “Award for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning 2021” was held in the United Kingdom, and this innovation is currently in the process of being transformed into a start-up in cooperation with the Khalifa Innovation Center.
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