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Three Teams Emerge Leaders from Day 1 Trials as Categories Pick Up Fierce Competition among Participating Teams 

Abu Dhabi - UAE : 24 February 2020

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces visited the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC) Grand Stand to view the ongoing US$5-million Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) 2020 on Day 2 of the competition, announced organizers Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

His Highness Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and His Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Head of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, earlier visited the challenge grounds and viewed the innovations in drones’ technology.

Meanwhile, the MBZIRC 2020 judges announced the names of three leading teams from Day 1 trials as the participating teams complete Day-2 trials, looking forward to the Grand Challenge.

In Challenge 1 trials, the Beijing Institute of Technology emerged leaders from Day 1, proving their skills in autonomously tracking the intruder unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), while capturing and neutralizing it inside the arena. The Prague Czech Technical University-University of Pennsylvania-NYU team came second, while the University of Tokyo came third.

In Challenge 2, the Prague Czech Technical University-University of Pennsylvania-NYU team emerged leaders, demonstrating the autonomous maneuverability of a team of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned guided vehicles (UGVs) to collaborate and autonomously locate, pick, transport and assemble different types of brick-shaped objects to build pre-defined structures, in an outdoor environment. The Technical University of Denmark came second, while the University of New South Wales – Sydney came third.

In Challenge 3, the Technical University of Denmark came out the leaders, presenting their drones’ capabilities in a firefighting scenario in an urban high-rise building. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) came second, while the University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing and the Polytechnic University of Madrid-University Pablo Olvide-Poznan University of Technology teams shared the third place honors.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Steering Committee General Vice-Chair for MBZIRC 2020, said: “We were honored by the visit of His Highness Sheikh Moahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as His Highness Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and their keen interest in advancing technologies, which are demonstrated by participating teams at MBZIRC 2020. We are grateful to the dedication of the UAE leadership to enhancing innovation in all areas, particularly advanced technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.”

Dr. Al Hammadi added: “The Day 1 trials of MBZIRC 2020 have established that teams competed with great enthusiasm, displaying superb and highly creative maneuvering skills in all three categories. As competition in the biennial international robotics heats up, we are delighted to have gathered so many of the international experts in robotics and artificial intelligence in Abu Dhabi for the Challenge, held in parallel with the 4th edition of Unmanned System Exhibition (UMEX) and the Simulation and Training Exhibition and Conference (SimTEX). We believe the outcome of MBZIRC 2020 will significantly strengthen the role of Abu Dhabi and the UAE in pioneering advanced autonomous technologies, regionally and globally.”

The UAE’s Al Nokhba Team has performed strongly to reach sixth and seventh positions respectively in the Challenges 2 and 3, thus emerging among the most prestigious research centers worldwide. The performance indicates the high level of innovation the young Emirati team has achieved in advanced technologies, enabling them to compete globally.

Winners will be announced on the last day of the Challenge in all four categories. Each of the teams at MBZIRC 2020 attempt two trials for Challenges 1, 2 and 3 and the best score is retained. For the Grand Challenge, there is just one trial. Trials are scheduled during daylight hours, from 7.30am-5.30am, while floodlights may be used in the event of adverse weather conditions or overrunning of schedules.