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US$5-Million Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge 2020 Kicks Off in Abu Dhabi

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Day 1 Trials Test Teams for Embodied Artificial Intelligence Skills in Challenges 1, 2 and 3

Abu Dhabi - UAE : 23 February 2020

The US$5-million biennial international robotics competition Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) 2020 kicked off today with 32 participating teams competing to establish their superior embodied artificial intelligence (AI) skills in drone capture, construction automation, firefighting and emergency response, organizers Khalifa University of Science and Technology announced.

The three-day Challenge is organized in parallel with the 4th edition of Unmanned System Exhibition (UMEX) and the Simulation and Training Exhibition and Conference (SimTEX) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC). Following the MBZIRC 2020 challenge, a two-day MBZIRC Symposium will be held from 26-27 February at ADNEC.

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Steering Committee General Vice-Chair for MBZIRC 2020, said: “We are delighted to witness the teams from top-ranking universities and research laboratories taking part in MBZIRC 2020, pushing technological boundaries to demonstrate their capabilities. This signifies the prestige and global appeal of MBZIRC 2020, which offers the most suitable environment to bring out highly advanced technologies in drone capture, construction automation, firefighting and emergency response. We believe MBZIRC 2020 will firmly establish Abu Dhabi and the UAE among the top league of countries renowned for technology-intensive competitions that contribute to the overall benefit the global community.”

Dr. Lakmal Seneviratne, Technical Chair, MBZIRC 2020 Organizing Committee, Director, Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems, Khalifa University, and Professor, Mechanical Engineering, said: “Day-1 at MBZIRC 2020 is setting the tone for the rest of the Challenge, making the competition even more exciting. The MBZIRC 2020 Challenges will truly test the limits of UAV and UGV autonomy in complex outdoor environments.”

A total of 24 teams signed up for the Day 1 trials for Challenge-1, which will test the teams for autonomously tracking the intruder unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs), while capturing and neutralizing it inside the arena. The MBZIRC 2020 jury panel includes globally-renowned scholars and eminent researchers in robotics and artificial intelligence.

A total of 20 teams are seeking to outshine others in Challenge-2, in which a team of UAVs and a UGV will collaborate to autonomously locate, pick, transport and assemble different types of brick shaped objects to build pre-defined structures, in an outdoor environment.

For Challenge-3, a total of 22 teams have agreed to display their skills in a firefighting scenario in an urban high-rise. All Challenges are designed to ensure fast autonomous navigation maneuverability of drones by the teams in semi-structured, complex, and dynamic environments.

Day 2 entails second trials for all three Challenges, while final winners will be announced on Day 3, which will also witness the teams competing for the Grand Challenge followed by the final award ceremony to honor the winners.