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AUS sweeps prestigious UAE AI and Robotics and Drone for Good Awards
Two innovative projects developed by faculty members and students at American University of Sharjah (AUS) were declared winners in the national category of the UAE Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics for Good Award and the UAE Drones for Good Award. The awards, worth AED one million each, were announced at a special ceremony held yesterday, February 18, 2017, in Dubai. The winning projects were developed with the purpose of transforming and improving people's lives.
"We are proud of the success of our faculty members and students who have been recognized for their projects," said Dr. Bjorn Kjerfve, Chancellor of AUS. "This success is a reflection of our university's commitment to cultivating an environment of research and technological innovation. That these projects will have a positive bearing on industry and society is another reason to celebrate and appreciate these achievements," he added.
Entitled "In-pipe Inspection Robot," the winning project of the UAE AI and Robotics for Good Award, focuses on problems the oil and gas industry faces as its pipelines become susceptible to leaks and failures. Through using a robust navigation and leak detection algorithm, the winning AUS team aims to navigate a pipeline inspection robot to correctly locate and detect defects in the pipelines. The outcomes of the project have the potential to positively impact the UAE's economy through helping to ensure speedy, efficient and reliable pipelines.
The team members for this project were Dr. Mamoun Abdel-Hafez, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Shayok Mukhopadhyay, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering; Dr. Mohammad Jaradat, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Wasim Al-Masri, Laboratory Instructor; and Danial Waleed, an AUS graduate student in the Mechatronics Engineering program.
"The team started working on the development and enhancement of the project about three years ago. The current robot is the third prototype designed and built at AUS. We are very proud and delighted to have been declared the winners," said Dr. Abdel-Hafez. "This award program aims to encourage research and applications of innovative solutions in artificial intelligence and robotics to meet existing challenges in the categories of health, education and social services. The implementation of this project will result in great economic savings and sustained safety for the environment and the habitat.," he added.
The winning project for the UAE Drones for Good Award was led by Sanad Academy, a startup company established by Mohammed Aziz, an AUS finance major, and Mansour Al Blooshi. Their project, entitled "Sanad Smart Ring" is a ring infused with smart chipsets in its body that can fly to drowning victims as an emergency response. It works by enabling GPS positioning and radio communication with tablets, computers and transmitters, with waterproof cameras installed in its frame to provide live feed within the ring.
"I envisioned creating the Smart Ring; a ring that would fly, float, sense and detect emergencies much faster than a human life guard," said Mohammed Aziz. "I wanted to provide an easy to use solution, since a life guard is not a drone pilot. This is where the inspiration of the Smart Ring app came into play, whereby a rescue guard can simply save a life at the touch of a button," said Mohammed Aziz.
Aziz and his his colleague intend to start working on Version 2 that not only flies, but is able to float and take off from water as well as go beneath the surface and above. Both projects won on a national level and gained recognition by the judges, thus winning a total prize of AED 1,000,000 for each project, and were honored by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The award, in its second year is part of the 3rd UAE Drones for Good Award and the UAE AI/Robotics for Good Award.
A total of 20 projects were shortlisted for both the awards from inside the country, including 10 for UAE Drones Award and 10 for UAE AI/ Robotics Award for Good. The finalists were selected from 1,017 entries from 165 countries.
Launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and organized by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Fund, the UAE AI and Robotics Award provides a global platform for innovative technological ideas in areas of education, health and social services, and honors the best application of robotics and AI in the service of humanity. In addition, the UAE Drones for Good Award is set as a platform dedicated to change innovative technologies behind civilian drones into practical, possible solutions for the immediate purpose of improving people's lives.