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US$5m Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge 2020

Khalifa University of Science and Technology, organizers of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge, MBZIRC 2020, today announced the second edition of the US$5-million biennial international robotics competition kicks off on 23 February (tomorrow) with 32 participating teams at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center,ADNEC. The three-day MBZIRC 2020 is co-located with the 4th edition of Unmanned System Exhibition (UMEX) and the Simulation and Training Exhibition and Conference (SimTEX). The Khalifa University stand at UMEX 2020 will offer an array of innovations in various science, engineering and technology areas. 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 Co-Chair for MBZIRC 2020, and Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, said: "The much-awaited MBZIRC 2020, beginning on Sunday, will be offering a glimpse of the technical and scientific skills of various teams from top-ranked institutions across the world. We welcome the participating teams and believe the prestigious international competition will prove Abu Dhabi’s pioneering status as a place for advancing technologies in drones, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) embodiment, UAVs and UGVs."

The 32 participating teams represent 17 countries and have been shortlisted from a total of 134 teams from across the globe that applied to compete in the MBZIRC 2020 competition. With an average of 15 members, the teams currently have over 400 international robotics experts present in Abu Dhabi.

An elite panel of judges – globally-renowned scholars and eminent researchers in robotics and artificial intelligence from some of the top universities and research labs in the world – will assess the participating teams for their technical capabilities.

On Sunday 23 February, the teams will have their first trials for Challenge 1, 2, and 3. Challenge-1 will assess the performance of a group of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for autonomously tracking, capturing and neutralizing intruder UAVs inside the arena.

Challenge-2 will focus on how a team of UAVs and an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) can collaborate to autonomously locate, pick, transport and assemble different types of brick-shaped objects to build pre-defined structures, in an outdoor environment. Challenge-3 will assess how a team of UAVs and a UGVs will collaborate to autonomously extinguish a series of simulated fires in an urban high-rise and related tasks. The Grand Challenge requires a team of UAVs and UGVs to compete in a ‘triathlon-type’ event, combining Challenges 1, 2 and 3.

Meanwhile, Khalifa University’s various research institutes, centers and facilities have lined up their innovations at UMEX 2020. The College of Engineering is displaying projects including the innovative ‘Di-wheel’ – a remotely-controlled vehicle for confined mobility spaces; a magnetic brake system to reduce vehicle speed and for energy storage; a smart, reliable, affordable, and integrated technological solution to assist people with Alzheimer’s; and a wearable system for monitoring mobility disorders for rehabilitation.

In addition, the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) will share latest updates on its Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS) project, while the Masdar Institute Solar Platform (MISP) will showcase its newly installed pre-commercial scale solar concentrator. The Emirates Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC) will demonstrate a nuclear reactor model, and the Aerospace Research Innovation Center’s (ARIC) display will feature the KU-Strata bike. The multiple award-winning aerodynamic solar car built at Petroleum Institute will also be on display.

The Emirates ICT Innovation Center (EBTIC) will present eight innovations including a tool to assess customer volumes and services at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) petrol stations, an intelligent software analytics and governance platform, an AI solution to predict the need for spare parts in a given network to optimize distribution, a tool to harvest publicly available social media messages and perform text analytics to better manage vehicular traffic build-up or disruption in a telco network, an AI-based tool that allows for rapid automated planning of completely optimized wired and wireless networks, another AI tool for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioner (HVAC) systems to forecast future energy usage within a building, a novel time synchronization technology for mobiles communications and applications, Radio Access Network (RAN) slicing for 5G networks, and geo-scope analytics for future smart cities.

In addition, Ankabut – Emirates Advanced National Research and Education Network – at Khalifa University, will offer an insight into its various products and services, while the College of Arts and Science and the College of Medicine and Health Sciences will provide visitors with details about their offerings. 

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