Dubai Future Labs signs agreements to drive innovation in aviation and logistics

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed witnessed the signings with Emirates airline, DP World and Dnata

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, witnessed the signing of three partnership agreements. Photo: Dubai Media Office
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Dubai Future Labs (DFL), an initiative of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), has signed three preliminary deals with Emirates airline, DP World and Dnata, aimed at driving innovation in the fields of aviation and logistics.

The partnerships will help to “deploy future technologies to drive innovation in our aviation and logistics sectors”, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, said in a tweet on Sunday, as he witnessed the signings of the agreements.

“We continue to advance Dubai's leadership in robotics and automation technologies”, said Sheikh Hamdan, who is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation.

The partnerships aim to activate the Dubai Robotics and Automation Programme that was launched in September to support the development of the technologies as part of the emirate's move towards the future economy, as well as accelerate its deployment in key economic sectors, the Dubai Media Office said.

“These three partnerships will contribute to strengthening Dubai and the UAE’s position as a living laboratory for advanced technologies and innovations,” said Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Digital Economy, AI and Remote Working System, and deputy managing director of the Dubai Future Foundation.

“Deploying robotics, automation and future technologies in key sectors enhances economic diversification and raises Dubai’s long-term competitiveness and attractiveness as a platform for launching and growing businesses and enabling international trade with cutting-edge logistical services.”

Dubai has been boosting efforts to support the development of its future economy.

In July, the emirate formed a higher committee for future technology and digital economy, which aims to help shape the future of artificial intelligence by investing in the metaverse and establishing partnerships to boost Dubai’s digital economy.

Dubai's government also unveiled a metaverse strategy this year that aims to create 40,000 jobs and add $4 billion to the emirate's economy in the next five years.

The strategy, which aims to position the emirate among the top 10 cities that will shape the emerging technology's future globally, aims to double the number of blockchain companies and the metaverse by five times.

The latest partnership will see Emirates airline co-operating with Dubai Laboratories for the Future to develop and test robot projects for passenger check-in, lounge service, warehouse management systems, baggage transfer and cargo storage, the media office said.

The world's largest long-haul airline is also redoubling efforts to overhaul its warehouse management system by deploying automated solutions.

“This will give Emirates the opportunity to gain from DFF’s pool of experts and programmers, who will work with practical use cases and knowledge from the airline to enhance day to day operations, improve efficiency, as well as deliver further seamless experiences to our customers,” said Emirates chief operating officer Adel Al Redha.

Co-operation with Dnata, meanwhile, includes automation projects for the entire fleet of ground operations, electric power, and security and safety standards. The partnership will also support Dnata in achieving its strategic objectives and reducing its carbon footprint by 50 per cent by 2030.

DP World and Dubai Future Foundation will explore the potential for achieving breakthroughs in various fields by integrating with smart government system and spurring development and innovation to transform the UAE into an advanced digital and smart economy, said Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive of DP World.

As part of the initial pact, DFL will facilitate the research, testing and implementation of new technologies for the ports operator's logistics operations and develop future technologies that incorporate artificial intelligence, robotics, data analysis and blockchain, the statement said.

The solutions planned to be developed include automated and smart systems for transporting, handling, and storing goods across port operations.

“Keeping pace with the rapid evolution of technology, we are also exploring the deployment of metaverse solutions across our operations to solve real-world supply chain bottlenecks,” Mr bin Sulayem said.

DFL, which was launched two years ago, provides an advanced open and applied research and development lab for testing technologies, and smart automation solutions for storage, handling, transportation and logistics services, said Khalfan Belhoul, chief executive of the Dubai Future Foundation.

It also provides designs for self-driving vehicles powered by zero-emission renewable energy, besides other innovations that employ programming, machine learning, the internet of things, robots, big data management and analysis, he said.

A key driver of Dubai’s innovation ecosystem, DFL runs advanced robotics and AI applied research projects that are aimed at raising Dubai’s future readiness, the Mr Belhoul said.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, witnessed the signing of three partnership agreements. Photo: Dubai Media Office
Updated: December 12, 2022, 1:10 PM