The world’s largest accelerator program for government services launched formally in September, in the United Arab Emirates, the small country with the big ideas. Dubai Future Accelerators is managed through the Dubai Future Foundation, which is housed in the world’s first 3D printed office building. The program was announced by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and the Crown Prince of Dubai, and one of its goals is to make substantial funding available to the people and companies who will make the most important contributions to transformative technologies the world over. The first cycle brought together 30 companies to work with government agencies in eight government sectors, and they spent twelve weeks developing innovative solutions to 21st century challenges in areas like security, transportation, and energy.
The challenges included objectives like “test automated, recycled, and nature-inspired building systems that use 3x less energy and CO2 and are 5x more effective” for the Dubai municipality sector; some of the building systems included robotics, biomimicry, and 3D printing. There was a 64% success rate in the first cycle, and companies including Machine Colony, Labster, and Hyperloop One were granted access to the program. Check out the video from the first cycle to see what other challenges the companies faced:
As the second cycle prepares to launch in February, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Future Foundation Mohammed Al Gergawi says the most important thing His Highness Sheikh Mohammed learned during the first cycle is that it’s important to emphasize a positive and innovative approach when addressing future challenges. Dubai Future Accelerators is not only a platform to create opportunities and solutions ahead of time, but also a path to meet the challenges that face our societies head-on.
“Coinciding with the success of the first cycle of the program that attracted some of the world’s leading innovative companies and achieved cooperation with them to develop innovations for the future, Dubai Future Accelerators has now been expanded with its second cycle,” said Mohammed Al Gergawi. “It will harness a wider range of modern technology and innovation to find effective solutions to the challenges in key sectors for achieving the prosperity of the society. We seek to build partnerships between government and private sector companies globally that will help create well-developed technological models that lay strong foundations for the future of the UAE as a hub for innovative ideas.”
They are now taking submissions for the second cycle. There will be 11 new challenges, which cover important government sectors and will have the participation of 11 government and private sector entities.
Mentioning the Dubai Municipality sector again, this entity is searching for solutions to support the development of green building solutions, and wants to increase its efficiency by 50%. It also wants to focus on achieving 25% of all construction in Dubai through the use of 3D printing, which goes hand in hand with the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy initiative. It will also work hard to reduce general waste by 75%.
Another challenge will be changing the traditional method of operations with the Dubai Electricy and Water Authority (DEWA). His Excellency Saeed Al-Tayer, the Managing Director and CEO of DEWA, explained that it will implement initiatives and new technologies that will enable the entity to leverage disruptive technologies in order to generate, transmit, and distribute high quality water and electricity services. It will also focus on the sustainability of Dubai’s resources and focus quality of life for citizens.
Saeed Al-Tayer said, “DEWA is working to achieve the goals of Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to diversify the energy mix, so that clean energy will generate 7% of Dubai’s total power output by 2020, 25% by 2030 and 75% by 2050. This will make Dubai a global centre for clean energy and green economy, which will also contribute to making Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050. This supports our strategic vision, including the establishment of smart electricity and water networks. We conduct research to develop models, and smart grid technologies and systems, in addition to monitoring energy consumption trends. Smart grids also support our target to reduce energy consumption by 30% by 2030.”
It will research operating systems, software engineering, IoT, robotic technologies, 3D printing, and many other areas in order to achieve their goals. DEWA also uses UAVs to help with energy and water services.
Some of the other government sectors and projects involved in this second cycle include:
- Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA): Mobility in the Future. RTA encourages commuters to utilize public transportation, which helps reduce traffic congestion and the carbon footprint. In the second cycle, RTA will launch smart solutions for payment and ticketing.
- Dubai Police: Air Police. The police force is ready to begin the next phase of its future policing projects, which will use artificial intelligence technology to prevent and solve cyber crimes.
- Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA): 21st Century Skills. KHDA will develop an evaluation system, based on skills of the 21st century, where outstanding students will receive electronic certificates of appreciation to honor and reward their achievements in the Arabic language, science, technology, and mathematics.
For the whole list of participants in the second cycle of the Dubai Future Accelerators program, see Dubai News. The second cycle will be a great opportunity to find solutions for the major challenges that important government sectors face.
“The Dubai Future Accelerators explores the opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We will examine the impact of science and technology to make radical changes through artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, 3D printing, genomics and other technologies. The innovative projects and businesses will be selected based on their ability to find solutions for these challenges, and translate them into models and pilot projects to build economic value, enhance investment attractiveness and bring positive change to create a universal model in Dubai that can benefit the rest of the world,” said His Excellency Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation.