Gecko Robotics, a US company, announced on Sunday that it will set up a new international headquarters in the UAE under the Ministry of Economy’s NextGenFDI programme.
The company has developed robots capable of inspecting oil and gas, and power infrastructure.
As part of its investment in the country, the Pittsburgh-based company is planning to establish a manufacturing plant in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi that will create around 300 jobs over the next few years.
“Once again, we are seeing world-leading technology make its home in the UAE. Our industrial base is seeking to integrate the tools of the Fourth Industrial revolution to improve efficiencies and boost productivity, and Gecko Robotics will be a key partner on that journey,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.
Gecko’s wall-climbing robots use specially designed sensor payloads to detect otherwise invisible damage, allowing for precision repairs and predictive maintenance. Many companies and government agencies use Gecko’s software to extend the lifespan and efficiency of critical infrastructure, including power plants, oil refineries, manufacturing facilities, and other assets.
“We are big believers in the UAE and its transformation into a globally competitive economic and innovation hub. Here, we can take advantage of the UAE’s Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements to export to the rest of the world from here, and we can support energy businesses in the region to realise efficiencies that will help productivity and create the drive to realise net zero goals,” said Jake Loosararian, chief executive and co-founder of Gecko Robotics.
Dr Al Zeyoudi said Gecko’s investment supports the UAE’s mission to develop a world class, advanced technology ecosystem.
“We are making the UAE one of the easiest places on the planet to enter the market, find the right workforce and scale rapidly,” he said.
The UAE, the Arab world's second-largest economy, is taking various measures to attract more FDI into the country.
The Ministry of Economy launched the NextGenFDI initiative in July to attract digitally enabled businesses from all over the world with a package of market entry fundamentals required to establish and scale from within the UAE. These include rapid and flexible incorporation processes, fast-track licensing, bulk visa issuances, banking facilitation, and commercial and residential lease incentives.
It complements other programmes, such as the National Programme for Coders, which is offering golden visas to 100,000 coders.
The programme has been devised to accelerate the UAE’s economic diversification agenda and elevate its status as a knowledge and innovation-based economy. Gecko Robotics is the latest to commit to the programme, joining UK tech company Gödel and food app development company Krush — with more expected in the coming weeks.
Gecko Robotics said it views the UAE market as a critical hub to access manufacturing and engineering talent as it expands across Europe and the Middle East.
“Our first employees are already settling in the UAE, and we have ambitious plans to grow our footprint,” said Mr Loosararian.