World Security, a DP World subsidiary, is introducing autonomous boats to surveil and secure UAE ports, including the Middle East's biggest transshipment hub, as supply chains are tested amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It’s imperative that we develop the next generation of innovative technology at this time of increased need to safeguard national industrial and infrastructure assets in response to the crisis set off by the pandemic," Mohammed Al Muallem, chief executive and managing director of DP World UAE, said on Monday.
The boats, developed by World Security, will patrol the waters of DP World's Jebel Ali Port, Mina Rashid, Mina Al Hamriya and other facilities in the UAE.
"Deploying the state-of-the-art fully autonomous surveillance boat adds another layer of safety and protection for our ports and terminals, which play an important role in the global supply chain," Mr Al Muallem said.
The fully autonomous surveillance boats can be remotely controlled and patrol day or night with real-time communication to a control centre. The new boats will provide operational savings in the long-term, he said.
Social distancing measures and shutdowns have accelerated interest in autonomous capabilities across industries, but a global recession triggered by the pandemic is expected to hamper investment. Industrial robotics is expected to grow 10.4 per cent between 2020 and 2025, down by 3 per cent compared to a pre-Covid-19 forecast by Research and Markets.
Jebel Ali, the region's biggest intermediate trade hub, is increasingly operated through autonomous and remote technology, with remotely operated quay cranes and automated gantry cranes and gates. The autonomous security boats add another layer of technology to the port.
“We see World Security growing with Dubai’s transformation into a Smart City and implementing smart security solutions is integral to our security operations as we go forward," Mr Al Muallem said.
World Security operates an undisclosed number of boats to provide security at waterfront assets that include seaports, marinas and other maritime facilities in Dubai. Its customers includes critical utility infrastructure facilities, office buildings and real estate landmarks.