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Soon, all UAE technology will be developed locally: Youth

UAE technology, developed locally, Youth, AI, artificial intelligence, robotics competition series, software engineering,

Dubai - That time will come, when all such AI needs can be developed locally - and by Emiratis, a student told Khaleej Times.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Tue 17 Sep 2019, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 19 Sep 2019, 1:42 AM

The UAE's youth is confident that, in the future, the country will no longer have to import talent and technologies for artificial intelligence (AI).
That time will come, when all such AI needs can be developed locally - and by Emiratis, a student told Khaleej Times.

"Through the exposure we are receiving on international platforms, with the AI and robotics competition series, we are being prepared for a career in robotics and AI tech," said 18-year-old Obaid Awad Alzaabi, a software engineering student at the Khalifa University.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the Ministry of Education's (MoE) roundtable session on Tuesday for the announcement of the 2019- 2020 Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (AIR) competition series to be held next year.
Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, assistant undersecretary of the activities sector at the MoE, said the programme does aim to inspire, motivate and hone the skills of the growing number of aspiring Emirati innovators.
"The competition series serves as part of the UAE's Vision 2071 to be the world's leading nation, bringing together the greatest minds. It seeks to support the next generation of Emirati innovators and the best talent from around the world," Al Shamsi told Khaleej Times.
AIR has also been encouraging and empowering more students to pursue careers in space technology and develop solutions to real-life challenges, she added.
Showcasing the tech wonders that today's young talents are capable of, last year's winners presented their projects during the roundtable session.
One of the winning innovations is a robot that can efficienty lift caps and balls from a sports field.
It was put together by a group of five students who won the top place.
Eighteen-year-old Sultan Saif Althabati said: "We took this project to the US. It was an amazing experience.
"My decision to pursue higher studies in software engineering and cybersecurity was fuelled purely by the opportunities in this competition."
The series has generated a lot of interest that former winners are determined to join and win again.
Experts and coaches agree that constant exposure to such opportunities can help get more of the country's youth involved in the tech field.
"It did the students a world of good and provided them with excellent exposure into international standards of AI and robotics competitions," said Safwa Khalid Marouf, a coach for a school in Dibba, Fujairah.
The first AIR Series was launched in 2015, with only two categories, VEX Robotics Competition and VEX IQ Challenge (VIQ).
The competition expanded rapidly that by the fifth edition for 2019, it had a total of 3,020 participants and 20 categories, said Khalfan Juma Almarashda, director of the student skills development department.
Among the categories were Minecraft National Competition and STEAM Project Kids, OnStage Preliminary League, and Soccer Open League.
In the upcoming edition - to be held in Abu Dhabi on February 23-25, 2020 - four new competitions have been added. These are MATE ROV Competition (ROV), Aerial Drone Competition (ARC), Hydrogen Car Competition (HCC), and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC).

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