Under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme of the UAE Armed Forces and the Chairman of Khalifa University s Board of Trustees, Khalifa University announced yesterday the launch of the Mohamed bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC). The international robotics competition will be held every two years and offers prizes worth a total of US$5 million, with the first challenge to be held in November, 2016.
Attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and Deputy Chairman of Khalifa University Board of Trustees, other members of Khalifa University s Board of Trustees, senior management, members of the international judging committee and distinguished dignitaries, the Challenge was announced yesterday at a launching ceremony held at Khalifa University s Abu Dhabi campus. The event was facilitated by a robot, Reem, who directed guests to their seats.
"We are thankful to His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his patronage of this challenge, and to H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for his close supervision and continuous encouragement. Challenges like this stimulate students and researchers from all over the world to enable scientific research and innovation" said Arif Al Hammadi, Khalifa University s Executive Vice President.
Robotics is the science of engineering, design, manufacturing, applications and building of robots. It combines a number of disciplines, including mechanics, electronics, aerospace and programming. Robotics technology is poised to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications across a diverse range of fields.
Al Hammadi added that the MBZIRC has the potential to broaden the robotics ecosystem in the UAE, promote robotics within local industry, bring robotics talent to the UAE, and help attract students to science, technology and engineering disciplines. It will also encourage UAE universities to offer new science programs and establish robotic research centres." He also said that the MBZIRC will offer a new challenge every two years, which will encourage researchers and inventors to design and innovate. This will in turn help to create incubators that lead to the establishment of companies that support the industry in the country and worldwide.
Noting that an independent panel of judges, which brings together top international robotic experts, will oversee and judge the competition, Al Hammadi said, "The MBZIRC is expected to attract the greatest minds in the field of robotics from among the world's best universities, research centres and international companies. The launch of this competition coincides with the recent announcement by the UAE s Cabinet declaring the year 2015 a year of innovation." Mohammed Al Mualla, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Khalifa University, said, "Throughout history, challenges have proven to be one of the most effective means to achieve quantum leaps in the development of technology, open new horizons in the development of human societies and to find solutions to the most complex problems. The aim of MBZIRC is to shape the future of worldwide robotic technology and its uses by offering a challenge that requires conducting research, inventing new solutions and applying them to a real life scenario." "The challenge in its first edition will focus on the use of robots in emergency and crisis situations. The challenge will take place at an arena that simulates the scene of an accident and involves a large moving vehicle being on fire." The competing teams will design a set of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) s and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) s, which will work autonomously without any human intervention to handle this incident, according Al Mualla.
The challenge involves performing a set of complex tasks, such as landing UAV s on the moving vehicle s rooftop and the activating the emergency brakes system that the vehicle is equipped with. It then coordinates with the UGV s to move towards the burning vehicle and activate the fire extinguishing system by avoiding a lot of obstacles that will be deployed in the field. Air and ground robots will then cooperate to locate the victims and conduct operations to transport them out of the scene.
"Doing such tasks requires developing advanced solutions to direct and control operations, coordinate, communicate and process images and signals. These solutions are then applied in advanced designs competing with each other. We are confident that solutions designed to address this challenge will advance the way we approach and design UAV s and UGV s," Al Mualla concluded.