HH Sheikh Hamdan launches Dubai Robotics and Automation Program

The development of the sector will support the diversification of Dubai’s future economy

The ‘Dubai Robotics and Automation Program’ has been launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation. The program aims to boost the development, testing and adoption of robotics and automation (R&A), and accelerate the use of its application in key economic sectors.

“The Dubai Robotics and Automation Program aims to increase the sector’s contribution to Dubai’s GDP to 9% within 10 years. We seek to make Dubai one of the world’s top 10 cities in R&A by adopting and developing advanced robotics technologies, empowering national talent, and generating innovative new solutions, products, and services,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

The program was launched during Sheikh Hamdan’s visit to Dubai Future Labs, an applied research and development facility specialised in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). The new initiative will raise Dubai’s regional and global leadership and strengthen its reputation as a city with one of the highest levels of readiness in the world to adopt future technologies, said a statement from the Dubai Media Office.

In November 2021, the Guinness World Record awarded DEWA for setting up the world’s first 3D-printing laboratory.

Led by the Dubai Future Foundation, the program will feature five key initiatives and will focus on accelerating R&D in five areas. As part of the program, 200,000 robots will be provided over the next 10 years to increase efficiency and productivity in various sectors including services, logistics, and the industrial sector, and enhance the competitiveness of Dubai’s economy.

The Dubai R&A Program is based on three pillars – governance, support for R&D and adoption and utilisation of technologies. As part of the governance pillar, the program seeks to develop structural supportive mechanisms to build and maintain an optimal environment for R&A development, institutionalise collaboration between R&A developers, create a favourable regulatory and legal environment, formulate standards and create a comprehensive knowledge base.

As part of the second pillar, the program will seek to support scientific R&D, increase funding allocation in key areas, maximise the participation of local talent and increase the pool of professionals specialised in R&D in robotics and automation. Within the third pillar, the program will help industries adopt and utilise technologies, reduce the cost of robotics adoption, institutionalise investment cooperation in R&A, support R&A systems integration, ensure public acceptance for new technologies, and enhance rates of robotics technology deployment.

In July 2022, Paul Wallett, Regional Director of Trimble Solutions, Middle East and India told Middle East Construction News (MECN) that AI in construction will save lives.

Sheikh Hamdan pointed out that Dubai’s advanced infrastructure and talented workforce give it many competitive strengths in this rapidly growing global industry. The emirate will focus on advancing R&D in five main areas: production and manufacturing; consumer services and tourism; healthcare and connected mobility and logistics. He added that the main objective of the program is to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a global destination for innovation in R&A applications. The development of the sector will support the diversification of Dubai’s future economy and help build an integrated knowledge base that can contribute to creating new economic opportunities and improving the quality of life.

Following the announcement of the program, Sheikh Hamdan directed the allocation of laboratories to develop R&A technologies, support research, testing, development, experimentation, and integration activities, provide a supportive platform for collaborative projects, create prototypes, and involve the public in innovative product experiences.

His Highness also stressed the importance of equipping local talent and emerging companies with advanced tools and skills that are expected to be in high demand in the future and developing training programmes in cooperation with government and private entities, universities, and R&D centres locally and globally.

Later in July 2022, Ibrahim Imam, Co-Founder, Group-Co-CEO, CEO MENA & APAC at PlanRadar told MECN that robotics, AI, and IoT can alter the construction business model and make the process of project completion more efficient.

He also called on Dubai government entities and the private sector to strengthen cooperation with local and international research and academic institutions to develop a regulatory and legal environment that supports the growth of R&A in Dubai, and create a comprehensive local knowledge base for standards, technical specifications, and advanced technologies. In addition, he encouraged the fostering of partnerships with national and international universities to support talent development, enhancing practical research, and generating innovative solutions to improve the competitiveness of the national economy.

All the initiatives that will be organised and launched as part of the program will be overseen by the Dubai Council for Robotics and Automation, which consists of representatives from public and private sectors and academia. The implementation of the Dubai R&A Program supports the development of various vital and future-oriented sectors in Dubai, including transportation, space, healthcare, education and artificial intelligence, among others, the statement concluded.


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