الدكتور راي جونسون
الرئيس التنفيذي لـ"ASPIRE"
Dr. Ray O. Johnson
CEO, ASPIRE

Piloting UAVs to deliver UAE’s targets for big carbon savings

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Recently, Britain recorded its hottest day ever, posing a wakeup call not just for the country grappling with a first-of-its-kind heat wave, but also for the rest of the world.

Heat waves are becoming commonplace and extreme in nature, owing to climate change induced by human activities. We’ve caused this and only we can put a stop to this. According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature has already increased by a little more than 1°C since 1880, at a rate of roughly 0.15 to 0.20°C per decade.

These temperatures will continue soaring at alarming levels unless carbon offsetting is practiced at a global scale. As the first country in the Middle East to commit to zero emissions by 2050, the UAE is leading the way in terms of climate action.

UAE-based companies and authorities are at the fore of this change and are advancing efforts in alignment with the country’s overarching sustainability ambitions. A massive step in this direction was the implementation of a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags, which was effective from June this year, in line with UAE’s carbon-neutrality goals.

A major catalyst in driving UAE’s response to climate change is the country’s logistics sector, a market which is poised to generate over $30 billion by 2025.

UAE’s forward-thinking leadership fuels an ecosystem of innovative solutions. The country has identified UAVs as a priority sector to drive future transformative technologies across diverse fields.

UAVs tick all sustainability boxes; according to a global study assessing the environmental impact of ‘last-mile’ delivery methods, it was found that greenhouse-gas emissions per parcel were considerably lower (84%) for drones than for diesel trucks. Drones consume far lesser energy per parcel in comparison to trucks.

Interest and investment towards UAVs globally have piqued post-COVID, owing to safety considerations and a preference towards contactless deliveries. In the UAE, the government is ploughing money into UAVs and robots as it forges towards an autonomous and sustainable future. Representative of its interest and investment towards UAVs, UAE recently signed three deals with domestic and international companies valued at $178.2 million.

The future of sustainable development is automated, and the UAE is well positioned as a testbed for innovation, owing to emerging technologies such as UAVs, drones, and robots. It is this philosophy of technological and innovative collaboration that sits at the heart of ASPIRE, the technology programme management and business development pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council and the architect of the MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge.

The Grand Challenge, 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 challenge aims to achieve breakthrough solutions in the advanced technology space and reinforce and catapult UAE’s capabilities in the space. By way of such initiatives, the UAE is inspiring change as it continues to reinforce its commitment to sustainability goals.

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