Sheikh Hamdan witnesses the signing of three new partnerships aimed at driving innovation in aviation and logistics
Partnerships will contribute to strengthening Dubai and the UAE’s emergence as a living laboratory for advanced technologies and innovations. Image Credit: Twitter@HamdanMohammed

Dubai, on Sunday, signed national partnerships to boost the development, testing and adoption of robotics and accelerate its deployment in two vital non-oil sectors – aviation and logistics. Three companies – Emirates Airlines, DP World and dnata, signed the partnership agreement with Dubai Future Labs (DFL), an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation, to trigger the deployment of future technologies to these sectors.

The adoption of future technologies will include the research and development of automated electric vehicles in terminal operations, building a system that facilitates autonomous baggage transport, a robot check-in agent, and automation of several other consumer services, the Dubai Media Office said.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation, witnessed the signing of three partnerships. Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Khalfan Belhoul, the CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, were also present.

Activating the programme

These national partnerships aim to activate the Dubai Robotics and Automation Programme launched last September. The Programme focuses on advancing research and development (R&D) in five main areas of the sectors - production and manufacturing; consumer services and tourism; healthcare and connected mobility; and logistics.

Minister AlOlama said: “These three partnerships will contribute to strengthening Dubai and the UAE’s position as a living laboratory for advanced technologies and innovations.” He added: “Deploying robotics, automation, and future technologies in key sectors enhance economic diversification and raise Dubai’s long-term competitiveness and attractiveness as a platform for launching and growing businesses and enabling international trade with cutting-edge logistical services.”

MoU with DP World

The Dubai Future Labs’ Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DP World includes several phases and projects. The main task to be undertaken as part of the MoU is to develop intelligent, autonomous electric vehicles (E-CAVs) for terminal operations that can serve as a more sustainable, reliable, efficient and safer alternative. Dubai Future Labs will also facilitate the research, testing and implementation of new technologies for logistics operations and develop future technologies that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, data analysis and blockchain.

The solutions planned to be developed automated and intelligent systems for transporting, handling, and storing goods across port operations. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, said: “This MoU is of strategic importance to us and comes at a time when it is critical to enhancing supply chain efficiencies.”

He added, “With our next-generation technologies and solutions, including hyperloop and automated warehouse stacking as well as initiatives like Dubai Trade, Cargoes, Searates and Digital Freight Alliance, we are reshaping the future of trade and logistics.”

Keeping pace with the rapid evolution of technology, DP World is also exploring deploying metaverse solutions across its operations to solve real-world supply chain bottlenecks.

MoU with Emirates airline

With Emirates, Dubai Future Labs will facilitate various pilot projects, including a robot check-in agent that leverages facial recognition and interacts with passengers and a robot waiter serving in airport lounges. Emirates is also redoubling efforts to overhaul its warehouse management system by deploying automated solutions. The airline will work with DFL to develop autonomous baggage transport and autonomous pallets for cargo warehousing, helping to make operations safer, more efficient, and reliable.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, said, “We look forward to deploying innovative robotics solutions and using advanced technologies and artificial intelligence across our business areas in Emirates Engineering, Dubai International Airport and ramp operations.”

MoU with Dnata

DFF’s Dubai Future Labs will work alongside dnata to research, develop and trial innovations to improve safety, efficiency and sustainability across the company’s ground handling and cargo operations at Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) airports.

Dubai Future Labs will support dnata in automating and converting its fleet into electric ground support equipment (GSE) and deploying robots to maximise operational and environmental efficiency. The partnership will also support dnata in achieving its strategic objectives and reducing its carbon footprint by 50 per cent by 2030.

Steve Allen, CEO of dnata Group, said: “Our partnership with Dubai Future Foundation will accelerate the deployment of cutting-edge technologies across our operations. It will help us improve productivity and sustainability and consistently deliver world-class services for our partners, including Dubai Airports and our airline customers.”