Dubai launches major drone industry programme to accelerate commercial deployment

According to the Emirates News Agency Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council has launched a programme to accelerate the use of drones in several sectors, including health, security, shipping and food throughout the country.

Although Dubai has several drone projects running, this new initiative will tie them all together under the leadership of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), which will work in conjunction with Dubai Future Labs, with DCAA, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), Fakeeh University Hospital, Majid Al Futtaim, and Emirates SkyCargo, Talabat and Kitopi.

A pilot area will be established in Dubai Silicon Oasis for innovators and related entities from the UAE and abroad “to develop and test new drone solutions and transform them into effective services that improve people’s lives and help achieve national economic goals.”

In July 2020, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued a law regulating the use of drones in Dubai. “This Act is considered one of the projects of the Dubai Sky Dome Initiative; this initiative aims to create a virtual airspace infrastructure for drone systems, through which public spaces and buildings will be connected through airstrips and mini-airports throughout Dubai and to develop major infrastructure schemes for airports, airstrips, multi-use stations and ground service sites, “ according to the Sheikh. “The schemes will include promoting the concept of public transport in the Emirate, creating multi-modular transportation systems in order to promote the concept of integration of air vehicles and different ground transportation systems. This initiative will also include the development of systems to manage the movement of drones and the development of an integrated smart platform for all services related to the organisation of drone operations, such as the granting of immediate permits to drones and their operators, in order to ensure air security and safety and ensure that the efficiency of Emirates’ airspace is not affected.”

The agreement was signed by Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Khalfan Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Future Foundation, Ahmed Bahrozyan, Chief Executive Officer of The Public Transport Agency at Roads and Transport Authority, Engineer Muammar Al Katheeri, Executive Vice President at Engineering and Smart City, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim, Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President at Emirates SkyCargo, and Ammar Soliman Fakeeh, Chairman of the Board of Fakeeh Care Group.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said, “The Dubai Programme to Enable Drone Transportation will create an advanced infrastructure that enables innovators and relevant entities to test prototypes of unmanned aerial vehicles in designated areas and develop legislation that optimises their implementation. The programme aims to provide new economic opportunities and consolidate Dubai’s leadership in advanced technology research and development across diverse future-oriented sectors.”

. “The MoU will also leverage Dubai Programme for Autonomous Air Vehicle Services in designated test zones across Dubai, according to Mattar Al Tayer. “It will also support the Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed to convert 25% of total mobility journeys to driverless journeys by 2030.

“RTA is keen to turn the vision and directives of His Highness into reality through carrying out trials on various patterns of autonomous vehicles and mobility means. Experiments included the trial run of a 10-seater electricity-powered autonomous vehicle, the first autonomous air taxi and automated and connected smart mobility pods of different sizes and volumes of demand. RTA has also signed an agreement with General Motor’s Cruise to deploy the company’s autonomous vehicles to provide taxi service and shared mobility by 2023.

“RTA has also charted out a plan to upgrade the infrastructure for autonomous vehicles and air taxis. It has also coordinated with the relevant bodies to enact legislation and rules to govern autonomous vehicles and enhance the community’s acceptance of this technology. Such efforts also include developing stipulations and regulations for the testing and licensing of autonomous vehicles along

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