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Science & Technology

Science & technology news from the Middle East. All the important stories, plus authoritative opinion and analysis.

Fugro uncrewed surface vessel

Dutch engineer’s remote-control craft to monitor Gulf oil and gas

Dutch civil engineer Fugro is launching uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) to monitor oil and gas infrastructure in the waters off the UAE. The 12-metre-long vessels are controlled from the shore without the need for any crew. Conventional craft that inspect offshore assets have six to seven crew members and operate on shift patterns; the USVs […]

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WhatsApp says it is working to keep Iranians connected

Meta Platforms Inc’s WhatsApp said on Thursday that it was working to keep users in Iran connected after the country restricted access to the app and social media platform Instagram. WhatsApp “will do anything” within its technical capacity to keep the service accessible and that it was not blocking Iranian phone numbers, the messaging service […]

Saudi Arabia to send first Saudi woman to space in 2023

Saudi Arabia will send the first Saudi woman to space in 2023 as part of the Saudi Space Commission’s (SSC) new astronaut program, state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. The kingdom’s first space program will send a Saudi crew to space as it plans to launch its National Space Strategy in the coming months, which […]

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

Dubai aims to create $9.5bn robotics industry

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 […]

Saudi Arabia buys astronaut seats from Elon Musk’s SpaceX

Saudi Arabia is planning to launch two astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a space capsule from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, becoming the latest Gulf nation to strengthen ties with private US space companies, according to three people familiar with the arrangement. The sources, speaking anonymously to discuss the mission’s crew before its formal announcement, […]

Man on laptop

DeFi could go mainstream, with a little help from Gulf regulators

For those who imagine a world without banks, decentralised finance – better known as DeFi – is an empowering development in the crypto universe. So, how does it put users in charge of their own finances?  DeFi is the provision of financial products and services without the need for intermediaries such as banks, exchanges or […]

The Bhukkad Cafe in Dubai began accepting cryptrocurrency as a means of creating awareness of the payment system

Should your business jump on the bandwagon?

From groceries to luxury properties, hotel stays to coffees, burgers to business licenses, consumers in the UAE can now buy it all using cryptocurrency. But, even as several bricks-and-mortar businesses jump on the crypto bandwagon and regulations evolve, experts say the uptake is modest and widespread adoption in the Gulf state is still about five […]

Oman to set up space research and settlement centre

Oman’s Public Authority for Special Economic and Free Zones (OPAZ) has signed an agreement with Global Space and Technology Company to establish a space settlement centre for research, scientific and practical experiments, Oman News Agency reported. The centre will simulate astronauts’ conditions and conduct research on advanced technology and artificial intelligence over an area of […]

Ayman AlRashed, CEO of SCAI, and George Huang, CEO of international business and acting SenseTime MEA CEO, at the signing ceremony

Saudi Arabia taps into Hong Kong AI firm

SenseTime, a Hong Kong-based AI software giant, will launch a joint venture in Saudi Arabia as part of the kingdom’s plan to be among the world’s top 15 countries for the adoption of artificial intelligence by 2030. The Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), today […]

UAE tops ‘digital lifestyle’ rankings amid investment push

The UAE ranks among the world’s leading countries in several digital life indexes. It’s the first globally in terms of mobile internet speed, with the average speed in being 134.48 megabytes per second (Mbps) compared with the global average of 30 Mbps, according to a report published by the UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory […]

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Aramco’s VC arm leads $13m funding for satellite operator

Luxembourg-based OQ Technology, a global 5G internet of things satellite operator, has raised 13 million euros ($13.05 million) in its Series A funding round co-led by Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures and Greece’s Phaistos Investment Fund, according to a joint statement on Thursday. It is Wa’ed’s first investment overseas, since it expanded its mandate to pursue […]

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NASA’s mega-moon rocket ready for liftoff before Artemis mission

Launch teams at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida spent a final full day of preparations ahead of Monday’s planned liftoff of NASA’s giant next-generation rocket on its debut test flight, kicking off the agency’s Artemis moon-to-Mars program 50 years after the end of Apollo. NASA officials said on Sunday that all systems appeared “go” […]

BP's Teesside site

Abu Dhabi unveils hydrogen plan to bolster UAE’s eco ambitions

Abu Dhabi unveiled its hydrogen policy and regulatory framework on Monday – part of the UAE’s push to become a global force in the low-carbon economy. The Department of Energy (DoE) said its framework aimed to accelerate the UAE’s national hydrogen strategy, adding that it is working with public and private sector stakeholders including Abu […]

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Mubadala-backed AI firm G42 sets up $10bn tech fund

Emirati artificial intelligence firm G42, chaired by the Gulf state’s national security advisor, today launched a $10 billion fund to invest in late-stage technology companies. G42, which also counts Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala as an investor, said the fund would operate as a private equity investor targeting a broad spectrum of technologies “that […]

Smiling until he sees the bill: mobile data does not come cheap in Dubai

Dubai ranks as most expensive city for mobile data

Dubai has taken the unenviable top spot as the most expensive city for affordability of mobile data, with the average cost of 1GB equating to 0.55 percent of personal disposable income, said a new study. In second place is Auckland with 0.37 percent, followed by Seoul (0.32 percent), Buenos Aires (0.32 percent) and Manila with 0.31 […]

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Dubai lessor asks Indian regulator to de-register 3 SpiceJet planes

A Dubai-based lessor of SpiceJet Ltd has asked India’s aviation regulator to deregister three of the budget airline’s planes as SpiceJet struggles with high costs and maintenance challenges. The United Arab Emirates aeronautics firm AWAS did not specify why it was seeking to deregister the three Boeing 737s in Friday’s notification, published by India’s aviation […]

New $800m ‘ultra app’ aims to shake up crowded Gulf market

A Dubai-based serial entrepreneur has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to set up a new digital platform that he claims will disrupt the way people communicate, shop, pay, and transact, when it launches later this year. Abdallah Abu Sheikh, founder of Dubai-headquartered Astra Tech, calls his product, which is as yet unnamed, an ultra […]