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Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Silal to create Centre of Excellence for Agri-Robotics and Automation

Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Silal to create Centre of Excellence for Agri-Robotics and Automation
22 Apr 2024 15:01


Khalifa University of Science and Technology and Silal have signed an agreement to create a joint Centre of Excellence in Agri-Robotics and Automation. The partnership will leverage robotics and automation advancement to transform the agriculture sector in the UAE and beyond.

The agreement was signed by Professor Sir John O’Reilly, President of Khalifa University, and Salmeen Al Ameri, CEO of Silal in Abu Dhabi.

According to the agreement, the primary objective of the partnership is to build a joint research centre – Centre of Excellence for Agri-Robotic and Automation – to drive innovation in agri-robotics and automation in agriculture and exchanging technical knowledge and resources.

The agreement also facilitates the transfer and commercialisation of research outcomes, with researchers and students from Khalifa University leading the study, through internships and collaborative programmes. Joint workshops, symposiums and conferences will also be organised to facilitate collaboration and the exchange of research ideas.

Professor Sir John O’Reilly said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Silal and offer our robotics research expertise in the agriculture sector. Khalifa University is at the forefront of scientific research in the field of robotics and automation and is committed to furthering the education and training of our students through internships and collaborative programmes.”

Salmeen Al Ameri, said: “The advancement in robotic and automation science has a significant role to drive efficiency and sustainability in the food production systems. At Silal, we are building an ecosystem to bridge research capabilities and industry requirements, our partnership with Khalifa University is a crucial step in this direction, to transfer scientific knowledge and expertise into practical solutions to sustain our food systems.”

Research Centre

The proposed research centre, to be located at the Innovation Oasis site of Silal in Al Ain, will feature a dedicated autonomous greenhouse equipped with various robot platforms, sensors, and Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure.

This cutting-edge facility aims to support the development and pilot research conducted by scientists and start-ups from Khalifa University, who will also oversee the innovation activities in the centre in collaboration with Agritech experts from Silal.

Projects and Programmes

Under this partnership, Khalifa University and Silal will develop support programmes for startups, as well as training programmes for Khalifa University students and farmers. The collaboration will also involve the development of project proposals, securing funding for collaborative projects, and the exchange of expert personnel, including faculty members, researchers and students.

The centre will undertake research projects in collaboration with Khalifa University Centre for Autonomous Robotic Systems.

The centre will develop intelligent and cost-effective robotics solutions aiming to transform current farming practices. The centre will research crop monitoring utilising AI-driven robotic platforms and computer vision to detect early-stage diseases and reduce the use of agrichemicals.

The centre will also research novel autonomous robotic systems in food production including soft robot end-effectors and grippers to handle soft fruit and vegetables, thus enabling precision agriculture.

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