Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) completed the final preparations for the 4th edition of the Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX 2020) and Simulation and Training Exhibition (SimTEX 2020) to be held between February 23 to 25.
Organised by ADNEC in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense and the Supreme Command of the UAE Armed Forces, the 4th edition of both exhibitions is the largest in their history, since their inception in 2015. Hosting several leading local, regional and international specialised organisations and global attendees, including government delegations, civil entities and other specialised agencies, the current edition will highlight the latest innovations and technologies in the fields of unmanned systems and simulation and training, as well as areas of artificial intelligence, robotics and the global future trends.
UMEX and SIMTEX 2020 are ideally positioned to highlight the functional and practical aspects of using unmanned systems in our lives today, which can be summarised in the combination of greater flexibility, lower capital, and lower operational costs.
The announcement came during a press conference held today (Tuesday) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre, in presence of His Excellency Major General Staff Pilot Ali Mohammed Musleh Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of UMEX and SimTEX 2020 and the accompanying conference; His Excellency Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) and its subsidiaries; Staff Brigadier Engineer Khalifa Ali Al Kaabi, Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of UMEX and SimTEX 2020 and the accompanying conference; Saeed bin Khadim Al Mansoori, Executive Director of IDEX LLC, a subsidiary of ADNEC; His Excellency Dr. Hassan Obaid AlMheiri, Assistant Under-Secretary for Accreditation and Education Services at the Ministry of Education; Ali Al Yafei, CEO, Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments Company (ADASI); and Dr. Fahad Al Maskari, Manager of Organizing Committee of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC).
The world-renowned event, with a leading regional position as one of the key platforms for unmanned systems and simulation and training, is expected to attract a record turnout of both exhibitors and visitors. The events of both exhibitions will host a plethora of specialised activities and conferences in the presence of a select group of industry experts.
Alignment with the UAE Strategies for the Future
His Excellency Major General Staff Pilot Ali Mohammed Musleh Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of UMEX and SimTEX 2020 and the accompanying conference, said: “UMEX and SimTEX come in line with the UAE’s vision and Strategy for the Future, in accordance with the aspirations of our wise leadership, led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and their brothers Their Highnesses members of the Federal Supreme Council rulers of the Emirates.”
His Excellency added: “The two exhibitions promote efforts to advance concepts of innovation and support the goals of the ‘2020: Towards the next 50’ initiative by elevating future technologies, which affect economy, education, infrastructure, and healthcare industries across the UAE. UMEX and SimTEX also promote the UAE’s position as a global hub for technology and innovation, in line with the global trends towards embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Al Ahbabi stressed that both exhibitions support robotic and artificial intelligence technologies in line with the UAE AI Strategy 2031, and emphasised that their contribution to launching innovative systems and products covering various civil and security sectors enhances the local economic diversification in conformity with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and promotes the growth of the emirate’s non-oil GDP towards building a strong competitive innovation- and knowledge-based national economy.
Additionally, Al Ahbabi said: “UMEX and SimTEX, which shortly cemented their status as leading local, regional and global events, are the only specialised regional exhibitions for unmanned systems, simulation and training and the recently added border security systems.”
“The exhibitions aim to provide international visitors, including government delegations, civil entities and other specialised agencies and organisations, with an overview of the latest innovations and technologies. Across their various activities, the exhibitions will host 200 official delegations, a 33% increase in comparison to their 2018 edition. Moreover, a group of leading national companies will participate in the events, allowing them to showcase their latest innovations and products to decision makers and specialists, thus, enhancing their competitiveness and ability to access new markets around the world,” said Al Ahbabi.
Commenting on what’s new in this edition, Al Ahbabi said: “The current UMEX and SimTEX edition will be distinct by all means, especially that it will be held for the first time in parallel to the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), organised by Khalifa University, and the series of artificial intelligence and robotic competitions, which will be run by the Ministry of Education. The special conference accompanying UMEX and SimTEX, to be held on February 22nd under the theme ‘Manned-Unmanned Teaming in the Age of Smart Systems’, is expected to see a remarkable turnout by participants, experts and specialist from all over the world.”
His Excellency Al Ahbabi thanked the organising committee and sub-committees of both exhibitions, and expressed his appreciation to all national entities, partners, sponsors and supporters of this event. He also thanked ADNEC for all the distinguished efforts they made over the last two years. Noting that all working groups closely collaborated for the success of these special events in a manner that befits the status and the reputation of the UAE.
The Largest Edition Ever
His Excellency Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer, ADNEC and its subsidiaries, said: “The 4th edition of UMEX and SimTEX saw a record-breaking increase in statistics compared to previous editions, making it the largest edition ever. Both exhibitions and events happening in conjunction with them will occupy all Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre halls, as well as the Grand Stand.”
His Excellency clarified that the great demand by specialised international companies to participate in the activities of the two exhibitions is a living testimony to the success of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company in supporting national events in various economic sectors, as part of its strategy to advance the reality and future of this vital sector, and to confirm the position of Abu Dhabi as the capital of business tourism in the region.
His Excellency Al Dhaheri said: “The number of exhibitors increased to 163 companies, with a 33% growth compared to the 2018 edition, and the total exhibition space increased by 40%, to 25,000 sqm, compared to the space of the previous edition. The number of participating countries increased to 30 in addition to 7 national pavilions. The number of national companies participating in the event reached 63, constituting 40% of the total number of exhibitors. UMEX and SimTEX 2020 are expected to attract more than 18,000 visitors from all over the world, with an increase of more than 50% from the previous edition.”
Al Dhaheri added: “The current edition of UMEX and SimTEX will address several new topics and activities, and it will be organised for the first time in conjunction with MBZIRC 2020, organised by Khalifa University, and the series of artificial intelligence and robotic competitions, which will be run by the Ministry of Education. On its first ever participation, the General Authority for the Security of Ports, Borders and Free Zones will participate with the third largest pavilion and hosting more than 25 exhibitors.”
Adding further, Al Dhaheri said: “The current edition of the exhibitions witnessed an increase in the number of international companies specialised in the civil use of unmanned systems and simulation and training, as well as the robotics and artificial intelligence applications. The special conference accompanying UMEX and SimTEX 2020 will be held on February 22nd at ADNEC, one day prior to the four main events.”
UMEX and SimTEX 2020 Conference
The exhibitions’ agenda is filled with accompanying events, where the UMEX and SimTEX 2020 Conference will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre, on February 22nd, one day before launching the main event.
In his speech during the conference, Staff Brigadier Engineer Khalifa Ali Al Kaabi, Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of UMEX and SimTEX 2020 and the accompanying conference, said: “The conference, held under the theme ‘Manned-Unmanned Teaming in the Age of Smart Systems’, will attract leading experts, academic researchers and global thought leaders to exchange views and explore the challenges and opportunities that emerged as a result of artificial intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution. The conference agenda consists of four keynote sessions and four panel discussions that host a group of 21 national and international speakers from 11 countries. 600 attendees are expected to participate, with a 100% increase from the previous edition. The conference agenda will cover four main themes, namely: Human Dimension, Missions and Operations, Industry and Market, and Border Security.”
“The Human Dimensions theme will address the human aspects of the unmanned systems and the mutual roles of manned and unmanned systems in the age of autonomy. For the second theme, the conference discusses Missions and Operations, examining the role of unmanned systems in supporting multi-domain operations, in addition to missions and operations in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The third theme at UMEX and SimTEX 2020 special conference covers the future of the unmanned systems sector and the integration and interoperability of unmanned systems. Finally, border security has been added to this year’s conference as a fourth theme and as one of the main topics for debate and discussions. It is one of the new topics at the conference where experts and decision makers on the border security sector will discuss the implications of the digital age on joint action in ports and border security as well as its new intellectual approach in the light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” added Al Kaabi.
Commenting on the key topics to be discussed during the conference, Al Kaabi said: “The panel discussions will highlight aspects of cooperation between manned and unmanned systems in the age of intelligent systems, as well as border security in the digital world. The conference activities will address issues such as organising training sessions, renewal of simulation systems and next generation of advanced technologies.”
Al Kaabi stressed that the conference will promote the UAE as a leading global destination for hosting specialised conferences in the fields of unmanned systems, training and simulation systems and border security systems.
He also added: “The conference seeks to find innovative solutions to current challenges, and to anticipate the future in a world of rapid scientific developments and innovations and increased dependence on unmanned systems and artificial intelligence. It also aims to address the latest scientific and technological developments in these fields, and to share and exchange the ever-evolving best practices. Moreover, the conference will provide audience and speakers with an opportunity to explore and develop a better understanding of the daunting challenges facing mankind today. It will also bring focus on the advanced participation of the unmanned systems technologies and their role in achieving its full capacity during the upcoming decade.”
A Productive National Strategic Partnership
On the sidelines of the 14th edition of IDEX held in 2019, ADNEC signed a partnership agreement with Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments Company (ADASI), under which the latter participates in UMEX and SimTEX 2020 as a strategic partner. The agreement came in light of the directives of the wise leadership towards promoting cooperation among national entities to ensure the success of innovative initiatives across different economic sectors and open the door to domestic industries to access international markets and enhance their competitiveness.
During his speech in the conference, Ali Al Yafei, CEO, ADASI, said: “At ADASI, we are proud to be the Strategic Partner for UMEX & SimTEX 2020 and the accompanying Conference, organised by ADNEC. This is our first participation in the exhibitions since EDGE’s inauguration as an advanced technology group in November 2019, and our third year as a strategic partner for UMEX & SimTEX.”
“This partnership reflects the directives of our wise leadership on the necessity of intensifying the cooperation between national institutions and innovative initiatives across various economic sectors. Through our existing partnership with the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces, UMEX & SimTEX and ADNEC, we seek to emphasise our common goals in developing cutting-edge autonomous systems’ technologies that will advance the defence industry and eventually the commercial domain too, while at the same time building our local talent pool and contributing to the broader knowledge-based economy.” Al Yafei added.
Speaking about the effects of future technologies on the world, Al Yafei said: “Drone technology is revolutionising our world, with unmanned systems evolving to become a key enabler of more complex missions and with various extents of this technology being integrated into other areas – such as agriculture, oil and gas, humanitarian assistance and even emergency services. The market offers considerable growth for suppliers, and one of our key business priorities includes a dedicated focus on autonomous capabilities and exploring future growth trends with extensive investment in R&D.“
Al Yafei added: “We’re looking forward to engaging with local, regional and international industry leaders in the unmanned sector, showcasing some of our latest capabilities and continuing to drive transformative impact within this industry as we aim to enable a secure future. We also look forward to cooperating with global partners involved in developing products and technologies that serve our future visions.”
Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) 2020
In parallel to the UMEX and SimTEX exhibitions, the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), organised by Khalifa University, will take place between February 23 to 25. MBZIRC was launched in 2015 as a major international robotics competition that will be held every two years, with total of prizes of USD 5 million.
MBZIRC 2020, attracting state-of-the-art AI solutions and autonomous aerial and ground robots, will consist of three challenges and a triathlon type Grand Challenge, all focusing on innovating robotic solutions for smart city applications.
The technological challenges addressed in the MBZIRC 2020 include: capturing and neutralizing intruder UAVs, extinguishing a series of simulated fires, and prompt response in emergencies in urban high-rise buildings. A total of 34 teams and nearly 500 researchers, representing the best robotic systems laboratories and accounting for 10% of 100 international universities, are preparing for these challenges.
For his part, Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Steering Committee General Co-Chair, Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC 2020) and Executive Vice President, Khalifa University, said, “The Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge 2020 aims at raising the ceiling of innovation in the field of robotics technology and artificial intelligence and challenge the brightest minds in this these fields, with the goal of reaching new horizons for future smart city technologies. The presence of more than 400 robotics experts from the best universities and research centres in the world in Abu Dhabi under the umbrella of the challenge is evidence of the important role that the challenge plays in putting the country on the global map of innovation in the field of robotics, and the vision of our wise leadership in strengthening the leading role of the UAE in this field.”
Dr. Arif added, “MBZIRC 2020 represents a golden opportunity for industry and business leaders to meet innovators and creators from the best minds, from all over the world, to explore the latest developments in robotics technology, and thus achieve the direct benefit for the UAE, the region and the world.”
The Series of Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Competitions
The Ministry of Education is gearing up for the launch of the 6th edition of the series of artificial intelligence and robotic competitions, which was initiated in 2015. More than 6,700 students across UAE schools will participate in this edition, which aims to develop a sustainable environmental platform that plays a major role in activating robot laboratories, promoting innovation, cooperation and international competition in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence and raising the level and scale of global participation in the field of advanced twenty-first-century skills.
UAE students from various levels and private and public schools are familiarising themselves with engineering books and technology sites to participate in the 6th edition of the series of artificial intelligence and robotic competitions. All participating students will diligently and brilliantly work to develop the coding language, fix robotic arms, install cameras, print 3D palm trees among others, with the aim of winning the competitions and finding the best solutions to contemporary problems and win the title.
The series will feature a pack of national and international competitions in the fields of programming, robotics and technological innovation, with winners getting the opportunity to represent the UAE in ten international competitions. The 2020 series competition will include four categories: The first will focus on international robotics competitions featuring 4 First National Competitions, 5 RoboCup Junior and 5 VEX Robotics competitions. This category is strategically designed to engage all students, from kindergarten to university levels, making the UAE the only country around the world to organise these three international competitions under one roof. The second category will include the GPC national programming contests, consisting of four different programming languages, namely: Python, C++, Web and Tynker. Moreover, the third category will present the STEM Robotics Innovation competition. The newly added fourth category will offer the International Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) Competition, consisting of three international contests, namely: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Competition, the Drones Competition and the ROV Submarines Competition.
In his speech, His Excellency Dr. Hassan Obaid AlMheiri, Assistant Under-Secretary for Accreditation and Education Services at the Ministry of Education, said: “Modern technologies such as robots and artificial intelligence are acquiring new areas in our lives, and increasing dependence on them, and in the near future these technologies will form the foundations for different life facilities. The Ministry of Education has long recognised the importance of these technologies, and their role in raising the quality and levels of education in the Emirati school, so we relied on these technologies in our educational practices and made them an integral part of our educational curricula aimed at achieving the targets of a percentage of the UAE in 2071, aimed at transforming the UAE into a global leader in all sectors.”
Dr. Hassan Obaid AlMheiri added: “the series of artificial intelligence and robotic competitions” hosted by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre is one of the most important annual competitions organised by the Ministry within an integrated system of initiatives that will familiarise our students with the latest modern developments in the field of engineering, technology and science, in a way that sharpens their imagination and enhances their creativity and innovation, which has a great impact in building their independent personalities that contributes to the development of the country at the world level, and we trust that the outputs of the series live up to our expectations and meet the aspirations of the future state.”
ADNEC is organising UMEX and SimTEX 2020 in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense and the Supreme Command of the UAE Armed Forces, with ADASI as the strategic partner; Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) as the Gold partner; the Nation Shield Magazine as the Official Media partner; Etihad Holidays as the Official Destination Management partner and Abu Dhabi Health Services, Co. (SEHA) as the Official Healthcare partner.