A smart guidance system for the blind, a robotic exoskeleton for the disabled and a robot that repairs pipelines were the top winners at the biggest award for civilian application of robotics and artificial intelligence.
The UAE Drones for Good competition is the largest of its kind, offering total prize money of Dh4.67 million.
The three-day event at Dubai Internet City concluded as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, awarded trophies to three teams, two from the UAE and one from the United States.
In the international category, which carried a top prize of US$1 m (Dh3.67m), the honours went to the team of SuitX and UC Berkeley, who developed an affordable exoskeleton system for children with neurological disorders. It is designed to aid and improve mobility.
The winner of national competition for artificial intelligence and robotics was a group of students from Ajman University who developed a smart guidance system for the blind, a console that assists them in avoiding obstacles, identifying places and moving from one place to another. The system can detect obstacles at up to 5 metres, gently guiding blind people around the obstacles using a combination of five vibration signals.
Emirati Mohammed Al Shamsi, 30, was jubilant, showing off the trophy, which was shaped like a drone, after the awards ceremony.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be recognised for our efforts in creating something that can change people’s lives,” he said.
Mr Al Shamsi and his teammates hope to invest the money in taking their product to market.
The winner of the drones national competition was Buildrone, flying robot that is designed to detect and fix leaks in pipelines. It was developed by Talib Al Hinai, an Emirati PhD student at the Imperial College, London.
“The ideas presented at the first edition of the UAE AI and Robotics Award have highlighted the huge opportunities in the robotics and artificial intelligence sector, which promises to significantly improve quality of life in the coming years,” said Saif Al Aleeli, chief executive of Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation and coordinator general of the awards.
The competition took 664 submissions from 121 countries.
The judges evaluated live demonstrations from 20 teams that qualified for the semi-finals of the international and national competitions.
“The awards confirm the leading role of the UAE as an enabler in advanced technologies and a global centre for innovation to serve humanity,” said Mr Aleeli.