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The Technology Innovation Institute (TII) in Abu Dhabi is set to develop a Motion Capture facility that will enable the testing of Unmanned Aerial Systems and drones. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Pixabay

Abu Dhabi: The Technology Innovation Institute (TII) in Abu Dhabi is set to develop a Motion Capture facility that will enable the testing of Unmanned Aerial Systems and drones in an augmented reality or mixed-reality environment.

The facility will allow the TII’s Secure Systems Research Centre (SSRC) to simulate flying through the city of Abu Dhabi, enabling sophisticated experiments and virtual, augmented and mixed reality testing.

The ability to simulate virtual camera images and sensors will allow testing in environments that are too large, too dangerous or too time-consuming to construct in reality.

The high-quality motion capture system proposed for Abu Dhabi will be able to conduct passive or active tracking and enhance the communication, navigation, command and control capabilities achieved to date. SSRC is shaping this facility in line with its ongoing collaboration with United States-based Purdue University that holds the distinction for the largest indoor motion capture facility in the world.

‘Integral to life’

“This is a start — an ambitious one — and we are confident we will be able to arrive at technologies that could limit malicious cyberattacks as our reliance on drones continues to increase every day. They are integral to life today — from delivering valuable organs at a hospital to conducting surveillance of high-security zones, or dispersing seeds over a field or even completing grocery deliveries,” said Dr Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar, chief researcher at SSRC.

High-resolution cameras for tracking

“This unique testing facility will be leveraged by various lab groups and will allow us to conduct experiments on a broad range of Unmanned Aerial Systems of various sizes, while the state-of-the-art high-resolution cameras will be able to track small objects in the surrounding environment. Our aim at SSRC is to develop breakthrough security technologies to safeguard systems that may be vulnerable and this can include unsecure drone systems that may pose various threats to organisations’ or even to individuals’ privacy and safety. [This is why] it is essential to make drone platforms more resilient and secure,” he added.

The testing facility will be used to carry out experiments on a range of vehicles. To provide for a useful motion capture space, the system must be capable of allowing for mechanical isolation, climate control and simultaneous shared use.

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UAE as a global hub for innovation

TII is the dedicated applied research pillar of Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) in Abu Dhabi, a global research and development centre that focuses on applied research and new-age technology capabilities. TII connects an intellectual community and contributes to building an research and development ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

TII also reinforces the status of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a global hub for innovation and contributes to the broader development of the knowledge-based economy.