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UMEX Talks offer insights into trends in drone, autonomous system industries

UMEX Talks offer insights into trends drone, autonomous system industries
25 Jan 2024 21:46


Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi, this week’s UMEX and SimTEX exhibitions have featured the UMEX Talks as a stimulating forum for debate and knowledge-sharing on the unmanned systems sector.

Organised by ADNEC Group and the Ministry of Defence, with EDGE Group as a strategic partner, the Talks were one of the five new features at this year’s exhibitions. With a focus on the potential for AI and robotics to determine the future direction of drones and unmanned systems, the Talks served as an excellent platform for insightful discussions between leading industry executives, specialists and stakeholders in the presence of large audiences.

Day one of the talks featured sessions dealing with market and industry forecasts for autonomous systems, drone endurance, integration and delivery along with a case study on Abu Dhabi's future public transport network.

A presentation titled “Future of Autonomy in Motion: TXAI” was delivered by Dr. Zhengxiong Yang, Mobility Solution, Architecture Lead at Bayanat. As an artificial intelligence-powered geospatial data products and services provider, Bayanat is the first regional company developing autonomous self-driving taxis to provide Abu Dhabi with smart infrastructure. Brandon Tseng, President and Co-Founder of Shield AI, discussed the work of Shield AI, discussed his company’s work on the integration of AI in military aviation and their increasing adoption in civil aviation due to their cost effectiveness.

Anas Al Otaiba, Director General of the Emirates Defence Companies Council, explained the Council’s work to coordinate and promote the activities of national defence companies in international markets. Dr Abrar Abdel Nabi, Head of Artificial Intelligence at SAL Applied Artificial Intelligence Services, spoke about the integration of AI with unmanned systems to provide reliable sensor data for use in real time.

The Talks’ second day covered the future mobility ecosystem, market-led research and development, sectoral applications in areas such as transport and health, and case studies on serial mapping for accelerated decarbonisation and smart safety construction industry.

Dr Roberto Sabatini, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Khalifa University, discussed the impact of intelligent and autonomous flight systems on the global aviation sector, arguing that automation and AI will be a key enabler in the sector’s transformation. Malik Majali, Technical Manager at SCS, presented insights from his company’s experience in using sensors to detect commercial drones as part of the security measures adopted during the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

The final day of the Talks dealt with smart city infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and risk, and advanced AI in autonomous systems.

Giulio Segurini, CEO, Partner at STRADAai, discussed the innovative technologies are changing the way drone aerospace is managed through unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems that trace drones using tags. UTM development was key to the future management of unmanned systems and offered potentially immense business opportunities for key stakeholders. Dr. Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar, Chief Research Officer, Secure Systems Research Centre at the Technology Innovation Institute, explained that while future connected smart cities will be managed by autonomous systems, it was necessary to address the risk and safety aspects of managing unmanned systems in diverse conditions.

This session culminated with a presentation Dr. Abrar Abdulnadi, Head of Artificial Intelligence at Saal.ai, “Advanced AI and autonomous systems”, that covered the key advantages of Autonomous SI-powered Systems; namely their ability to deliver ongoing analysis to inform the decision making, learning and adaptability that improves performance and task execution without oversight.

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