Innovation may sound like a buzzword for some; however, it is critical to our progress, even survival. Without innovation our society, industry and economy will stagnate; we might even perish at the hands of negative forces in the absence of it. In other words, the ability to resolve critical problems depends on innovation. This is one of the reasons why the security and defence industry has been historically at the forefront of transformation.
Nevertheless, innovation can seldom take place in isolation. On the contrary, it is the result of interactions and collaboration between individuals, teams and groups. One of the best examples is the recent development of COVID-19 vaccines. Had scientists, researchers, companies and academic institutions from all over the world not come together to find an antidote in record time, the virus would have claimed thousands, if not millions, of more lives. It is this philosophy of collaboration that sits at the heart of ASPIRE, the technology programme management pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council and the architect of the MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge.
As it gears up to hold the competition in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, in 2023, ASPIRE has invited universities, research institutions, companies, and even individual innovators from all over the world to put their minds together to develop a system of systems that would help solve some of the most stubborn maritime challenges, such as smuggling, piracy and illegal fishing.
The competition, which will focus on a relatively unexplored territory in autonomous robotics, will involve a heterogeneous collaboration among unmanned aerial and surface vehicles, requiring them to perform complex navigation and manipulation tasks in a GNSS-denied outdoor environment.
The solutions developed here will once again point to the fact that partnership is key to innovation, whether it is in the domain of security and defence or any other field. We must collaborate to innovate.