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Abu Dhabi, 20 September 2016

Khalifa University, organizers of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), has announced that the competition has attracted three major international and local sponsors. ICT Fund, ADNOC and the China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) have signed on as strategic, platinum and gold level sponsors respectively. The unique international competition, which is scheduled for 2017, boasts prizes totaling $5 million USD. 

The inaugural 2017 competition has drawn a great deal of international attention. Recently 45 teams were chosen to participate from both academic institutions and industry, including Carnegie Mellon University, Virginia Tech 4Front Robotics and the University of Calgary, The University of British Columbia and the University of Berkeley, Advanced Robotics Engineering Solutions Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, and the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), China.

“We are proud to see the quality and diversity of interest and support we are receiving for this event, both from sponsors and participants,” said Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response to MBZIRC, and signing three major sponsors, especially ones that specialize in areas that could benefit from the innovation that will undoubtedly be displayed during the challenge, is a milestone for the event.  We look forward to working with the sponsors as this event moves forward, and we look forward to the international attention that MBZIRC will bring to the UAE in general and to Abu Dhabi in particular and the innovation happening here.”

MBZIRC will consist of three challenges and a triathlon type “Grand Challenge”. It will take place in an outdoor open arena the approximate size of a football pitch. Challenge 1 requires an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to locate, track and land on top of a moving ground vehicle. Challenge 2 requires an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to locate and reach a second ground vehicle, and locate and physically operate a valve on a side of the vehicle. Challenge 3 requires a team of UAVs to collaborate to search, locate, track, pick and place a set of static and moving objects. The Grand Challenge requires a team of robots (UAVs and UGVs) to compete in an event that combines Challenges 1, 2 and 3.