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Robot UAVs Set To Revolutionize Abu Dhabi Maritime Patrols

In a few weeks, robotics experts will compete to create the best autonomous drone to detect criminals along Abu Dhabi’s coastline.

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robot uavs set to revolutionize abu dhabi maritime patrols
MBZIRC

This year, the Mohammed bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) Maritime Grand Challenge will pit five elite teams of robotics specialists against one another in the ultimate showdown.

Handpicked from a pool of 52 contenders, the scientists will gather on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, to solve real-world maritime issues, encompassing problems like illicit fishing, smuggling, and human trafficking, all through the deployment of autonomous drones. Launched in 2017 by Khalifa University, the competition is jointly hosted by ASPIRE and Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC).

The scientists’ missions will include tasks such as autonomous target inspection and identification aboard vessels without relying on GPS, object retrieval via drones, and seamless collaboration between UAVs and robotic manipulators.

Professor Lakmal Seneviratne, Director of the Centre for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS) at Khalifa University, remarked, “We can train our robots and AI to do many things in a very controlled environment,” adding, “For example, factory automation has been around since the 1980s in highly controlled environments. But when you go out into the real world, the uncertainty is huge. So the adaptability and algorithms of our robots are the key aspects to look at in this challenge”.

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Dr. Irfan Hussain, team leader of Fly Eagle, one of the finalists, explained that adaptability will be crucial to win the contest. “They have only a few days to adapt to the environment here, and many parameters are still unknown until the day of the challenge,” says Dr. Hussain. “So their algorithms and their approach need to be robust enough to complete the task regardless of the conditions”.

The unpredictability of the scenarios mirror real-world conditions at sea, where turbulent weather could hamper the missions of autonomous drones tasked with detecting illicit vessels, and GPS signals might also falter in such circumstances.

Come the first week of February, the five finalists will vie for a coveted first-place prize of $2 million to bring their groundbreaking innovations to production.

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Hamad International Wins 2024 Skytrax World Airport Awards

The Qatar airport also won “World’s Best Airport Shopping” for the 2nd time, and “Best Airport in the Middle East” for the 10th year.

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hamad international wins 2024 skytrax world airport awards

Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha, Qatar, has once again won the “World’s Best Airport” title at the Skytrax World Airport Awards. The award ceremony, held at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2024 in Frankfurt, Germany, also saw Hamad clinch the accolade of “World’s Best Airport Shopping” for the 2nd time in a row and “Best Airport in the Middle East” for an impressive 10th consecutive year.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, who played a key role in the airport’s development over the past decade, said: “This is a remarkable achievement for Hamad International Airport, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary of operational excellence, connecting passengers seamlessly from all around the world. It is a testament to the dedication of our team and partners, who have contributed to providing passengers with the finest travel experience”.

hamad international airport doha qatar

Al-Meer emphasized the importance of understanding changing travel trends and the needs of modern air passengers: “At the heart of our growth strategy lies the passengers’ journey, their evolving needs, and our commitment to meeting and exceeding their expectations. We have introduced a diverse range of experiences at the airport, including Souq Al Matar, which brings Qatari hospitality and culture closer to travelers, “Orchard”, the ideal place for relaxation and rejuvenation between flights, and an array of high-end lounges”.

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Hamad International Airport saw a massive 31% surge in passenger traffic during 2023, with the transport hub now serving over 45 million passengers annually. The airport is now home to prestigious airlines, including Vistara, Iberia, Xiamen Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, and Japan Airlines, serving 250+ destinations for passenger and cargo flights.

The uptick in traffic is no doubt due to the completion of the first phase of an extensive expansion project. Hamad’s management intends to radically update the airport’s facilities over the coming years in a bid to create the “airport of the future”. The expansion features a unique and calming environment of lush greenery and several contemporary dining and shopping concepts among the already well-equipped leisure facilities.

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