Abu Dhabi: The UAE Space Agency and Krypto Labs, the global innovation hub, announced on Thursday the two winning teams of the GeoTech Innovation Programme. The winners were awarded funding of Dh100,000 in cash and Dh500,000 in kind, as well as the opportunity to accelerate and transform their innovative ideas into commercially viable and scalable market-ready products and services.

Working collectively and actively on mapping land deformation patterns in the UAE, Dr Prasanth Marpu, Adham Alkhaja, Dr Nikolaos Lisosis, and Dr Prajowal Manandhar gained recognition as one of the two winning teams for proposing a business idea under the title ‘Ayn Astra.’ The proposition offers four products making use of satellite data, and aims to use advanced processing algorithms for interferometric data processing. It also offers land use and land cover mapping, and it will be mapping the health of palm trees/vegetation and tracking dune motion.

“Utopia: Strategic Land Management Powered by AI” is the title of the business idea proposed by winners Ali Al Hammadi and Ziang Zhang. Their idea aims to offer a consulting agency based on an artificial intelligence system that generates assessments of existing land use, forecasts of future use and needs for a set of development assumptions, and strategies for urban and rural land management, and development using big data (primarily satellite data).

The programme received 80+ applications from university professors, students, entrepreneurs and engineers, from private and public companies, universities, and educational institutes in the UAE.

“With the space sector poised to contribute to more and more socio-economic development, the GeoTech Innovation Programme is already playing a significant role in identifying, facilitating and advancing local entrepreneurial efforts in a range of fields related to space,” said Dr Eng. Mohammad Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency.

Meanwhile, Dr Saleh Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Krypto Labs, pointed out the programme is one of the many initiatives that aspire to promote and facilitate a culture of innovation. “We believe that an innovative culture acts as the fundamental enabler in creating cutting-edge solutions. The ideas highlighted and discussed throughout the programme are a testament to this, as their application and implementation will generate significant impact,” he said.

This initiative highlights the shared vision of both parties in providing a local platform that unveils Emirati talent and develops their skill-set in the field of space sciences and its applications in line with the sustainable development of the UAE.