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17 Local and International Universities Participate in First Emirates Robotics Competition

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Group Photo of Emirates Robotics Competition winners

Dubai Future Labs (DFL) an initiative of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), in partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Khalifa University (KU) today announced the winners of the first edition of Emirates Robotics Competition. A total of 52 teams representing 17 local and international universities registered to be part of the competition. The organizers shortlisted 21 teams from 12 universities and qualified them for the final stage to compete in two major challenges – Navigation and Manipulation.

The competition involved the teams demonstrating the capabilities of the autonomous robotic systems they developed to accomplish certain tasks, including moving independently, analyzing their immediate surroundings, navigating a specific course, avoiding obstacles, and picking up and placing objects.

Shuri from Middlesex University Dubai beat 7 teams to win the Manipulation challenge, while the Robo Tigers from RIT Dubai came in second place, and RobAuto from Heriot-Watt University Dubai came in third place. As for the Navigation challenge, in which 14 university teams participated, Cognizance from Manipal University Dubai won first place, and Piston Sparks from University of Stirling RAK came second, while ACMBITS from BITS Pilani Dubai came in third place.

The Emirates Robotics Competition is in line with DFF’s efforts to empower promising talents in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. The competition reflects DFF’s efforts to partner with top research and academic institutions to support the objectives of the Dubai Robotics and Automation Program launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Council, and Executive Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation. The program aims to accelerate the adoption of advanced technology applications in various economic sectors.

The winners were honored at the end of the competition, which was hosted by RIT, in the presence of Meghan Gregonis, US Consul-General Dubai, and a number of presidents and directors of local and international universities in the UAE.

Dr. Yousef Al Assaf, President of RIT said: “Hosting the Emirates Robotics Competition at our campus reflects the eagerness we have at RIT for nurturing young talents. Our collaboration with Dubai Future Labs along with Khalifa University represents an exemplary partnership between academia and industry. It also paves the way for young individuals to hone their skills for the future and  contribute to diversifying the economy. We were so thrilled with the number of female students participating in the competition, reflecting its inclusion and diversity. We congratulate all students who participated and look forward to the future of the competition.” 

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University said: “Congratulations to the winners and students who participated in the Emirates Robotics Competition with such enthusiasm. The autonomous robotic systems developed by the winning teams are capable of performing challenging tasks. They demonstrate the creative skills and innovative spirit of each of the participants. With Khalifa University hosting the second edition of this competition next year, we are delighted that our collaboration with Dubai Future Labs and the RIT has resulted not only in generating great interest but also in bringing out the best from students.”

Khalifa Al Qama, Director of DFL said: “Empowering youth by providing the opportunity to develop their skills in robotics and artificial intelligence is a pivotal pillar in strengthening the role of Dubai and the UAE in driving global technological transformations. We at DFF are keen to launch initiatives and activities that help consolidate the country’s effort in positioning the UAE as a global center for robotics and artificial intelligence.”

He added: “We witnessed a great number of commendable robotic innovations in the Emirates Robotics Competition, which provided a platform to highlight technological skills and talents in the field of robotics, programming and artificial intelligence. It contributed to enhancing the culture of innovation, knowledge acquisition and skills development among the participating students, as well as encouraging them to work together to develop new robotic systems that keep pace with the rapid transformations.”

The winners were selected according to a set of criteria set by a panel of judges. The judges included Mohammad Al Shamsi, CEO of RoboHitec; Dr. Vinicius Goncalves, Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, New York University Abu Dhabi; Dr. Raouf Fareh, Associate Professor, University of Sharjah; Dr. Hamad Karki, Associate Professor, Khalifa University; Mohamed Aboud, VP for Membership Development, University of Dubai; Maitha Al Mhairi, R&D, Dubai Police; Ahmad AlAttar, Robotics Researcher, Dubai Future Labs; and Omar AlHammadi, Robotics Engineer, Dubai Future Labs.