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MOHAMED BIN ZAYED INTERNATIONAL ROBOTICS CHALLENGE ANNOUNCED

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Khalifa University to organize a USD 5 Million Prize challenging robotics competition

Abu Dhabi, 15 February 2015: Under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme of the UAE Armed Forces and the Chairman of Khalifa University’s Board of Trustees, Khalifa University announced today the launch of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC). This international robotics competition will be held every two years and offers prizes worth a total of USD 5 million, with the first challenge being held in November, 2016.

Attended by HH Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and Deputy Chairman of Khalifa University Board of Trustees, other members of Khalifa University’s Board of Trustees, senior management, members of the international judging committee and distinguished dignitaries, the Challenge was announced today at a launching ceremony held at Khalifa University’s Abu Dhabi campus. The event was facilitated by two robots, Reem and Reem-C, who directed guests to their seats and acted as Masters of Ceremony.

“We are thankful to His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his patronage of this challenge, and to His Highness Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for his close supervision and continuous encouragement. Challenges like this stimulate students and researchers from all over the world to enable scientific research and innovation” said Dr. Arif Al Hammadi, Khalifa University’s Executive Vice President.

“Robotics is the science of engineering, design, manufacturing, applications and building of robots. It combines a number of disciplines, including mechanics, electronics, aerospace and programming. Robotics technology is poised to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications across a diverse range of fields. The MBZIRC has the potential to broaden the robotics ecosystem in the UAE, promote robotics within local industry, bring robotics talent to the UAE, and help attract students to science, technology and engineering disciplines. It will also encourage UAE universities to offer new science programs and establish robotic research centers.”

“Throughout history, challenges have proven to be one of the most effective means to achieve quantum leaps in the development of technology, open new horizons in the development of human societies and to find solutions to the most complex problems. The aim of MBZIRC is to shape the future of worldwide robotic technology and its uses by offering a challenge that requires conducting research, inventing new solutions and applying them to a real life scenario” said Dr. Mohammed Al Mualla, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Khalifa University. “The challenge in its first edition will focus on the use of robots in emergency and crisis situations. The challenge will take place at an arena that simulates the scene of an accident and involves a large moving vehicle being on fire. The competing teams will design a set of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)’s and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV)’s, which will work autonomously without any human intervention to handle this incident. The challenge involves performing a set of complex tasks, such as landing UAV’s on the moving vehicle’s rooftop and the activating the emergency brakes system that the vehicle is equipped with. It then coordinates with the UGV’s to move towards the burning vehicle and activate the fire extinguishing system by avoiding a lot of obstacles that will be deployed in the field. Air and ground robots will then cooperate to locate the victims and conduct operations to transport them out of the scene. Doing such tasks requires developing advanced solutions to direct and control operations, coordinate, communicate and process images and signals. These solutions are then applied in advanced designs competing with each other. We are confident that solutions designed to address this challenge will advance the way we approach and design UAV’s and UGV’s”.