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Dubai aims to create $9.5bn robotics industry

Sheikh Hamdan said the program will provide 200,000 robots over the next 10 years to increase efficiency and productivity WAM
Sheikh Hamdan said the program will provide 200,000 robots over the next 10 years to increase efficiency and productivity

Dubai today launched an initiative to turn robotics and automation into a $9.5 billion sector.

Under the plan announced by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the use of robotics and automation (R&A) will be accelerated in key economic sectors in a bid to increase the sector’s contribution to Dubai’s GDP to nine percent within 10 years.

Dubai GDP totalled $105 billion in 2021, according to the emirate’s statistics centre.

“We seek to make Dubai one of the world’s top 10 cities in R&A by adopting and developing advanced robotics technologies, empowering national talent, and generating innovative new solutions, products, and services,” Sheikh Hamdan, also chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and chairman of the board of trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation, said.

Led by the Dubai Future Foundation, the program aims to provide 200,000 robots over the next 10 years to increase efficiency and productivity.

Sheikh Hamdan said it will focus on advancing research and development (R&D) in five main areas: production and manufacturing, consumer services and tourism, healthcare and connected mobility, and logistics.

He added that the development of the sector will support the diversification of Dubai’s future economy and help build an “integrated knowledge base that can contribute to creating new economic opportunities and improving the quality of life”.

Sheikh Hamdan directed laboratories to develop R&A technologies, support relevant research, testing, development, experimentation and integration activities, while creating prototypes and involving the public in innovative product experiences.

He also called on Dubai government entities and the private sector to strengthen cooperation with local and international research and academic institutions to develop a regulatory and legal environment that supports the growth of R&A. 

Partnerships will be fostered with national and international universities to support talent development, enhancing practical research and generating innovative solutions to improve the competitiveness of the national economy.

All initiatives will be overseen by the Dubai Council for Robotics and Automation, which consists of representatives from public and private sectors and academia.

The Dubai R&A Program is based on three pillars: governance, support for R&D and adoption and utilisation of technologies. 

The initiative is part of the UAE’s drive to embrace new technology which first gathered pace in 2017 with the launch of the Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

It aims to strengthen the UAE’s position as a global hub for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to increase its contribution to the national economy by means of advancing innovation and future technologies.

The strategy is characterised by a fusion of technologies which tries to blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres. 

Physical technology includes self-driving cars, 3D printing, and robots.

Digital technology includes the Internet of Things, data hubs and artificial intelligence.

Biotechnology includes the science of genetics, which is a major contributor to understanding most serious diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.