UAEU embraces digitization of roads for smart cities with state-of-the-art sensor and communication technologies

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Smart Roads – A step to Automated and Connected Mobility in Al Ain City:

Al Ain: UAE University inaugurates the smart roads and autonomous mobility project on 25th October. The project was inaugurated by the Worthy Chancellor H.E Zaki Nusseibeh. The ceremony was attended by honorable delegates of different ministries, Abu Dhabi Police, ITC, RTA, industrial partners, Research Provost UAEU, Director ECMR, and researchers. The Smart Roads project is strongly supported the UAEU authorities and co-funded by the Sandooq Al Watan. This is an initiative and flagship project of Emirates Center for Mobility Research (ECMR), which is led by Dr. Manzoor Khan through the Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) research group of ECMR. The project will be one of its kinds in the region and internationally, where the roads of UAEU campus will be able to talk, listen, and make decisions. 

Dr. Manzoor Khan, Head of the CAM Research Group ECMR & Project Manager of the Smart Roads Initiative at UAEU explained, “The UAEU campus, which is equipped with the latest infrastructure and road facilities, represents a complex urban environment that allows creation of models for Level 5 autonomous-driving,”. He noted, that the role of stakeholders such as Equipment Providers, Authorities, OEMs, MNOs, etc. in making roads smart, achieving the highest levels of autonomous vehicles. He said, “The smart roads project will make the UAEU a center for industry and a specialized platform for bodies, academia and researchers.”

Smart partnerships to lead the future

Dr. Manzoor Khan reviewed the prototypes of the solution components for the Smart Roads initiative, which also included technologies from SICK FZE, DELL, BENQ and Cohda Wireless, and added that “some of the relevant global industry leaders will soon be part of the activity and development of the Smart Roads initiative and relevant activities. Dr. Khan has been leading similar projects in Germany and European Union. He stressed that the center will be open to integrate other regional and international partners in this activity – a simple e-mail to Manzoor-khan@uaeu.ac.ae will do the job. The support of the CAM-ECMR research team, and industrial collaborators, this project will be one of the most prominent events regionally and internationally.

Smart Campus for Autonomous Vehicles

He stressed that the project constitutes an important step in the center’s journey, which it started to develop the infrastructure necessary for the use of autonomous vehicles. The center started earlier this year in cooperation with the “Bayanat” company for mapping, surveying and geospatial data, which is affiliated with Group 42, a leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence and commissioning of self-driving vehicles to transport passengers in Abu Dhabi. It also launched the Strategic Transportation Evaluation and Assessment Model (STEAM +) system, which is an advanced multi-modal system to predict transportation demand rates. It uses artificial intelligence techniques and big data analytics to support decision-making, guide the planning process and prepare integrated comprehensive plans, which contributes to achieving sustainable development goals.

Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies Applications

He pointed out that “data analysis is critical to such efforts, and the UAEU has the advantage of hosting a leading research center in big data analytics. We are working to collect and provide data necessary for common interests and multiple perspectives in the field of transportation. It includes applications of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, business policies and practices, manufacturing and engineering, legal and political affairs, and health and safety, to meet the needs of partners in industry and society, and in the broadest spheres of human activity.

Dr. Khan reviewed the prototypes of the solutions components for the Smart Roads initiative, which also included technologies from SICK FZE, DELL, BENQ, Cohda Wireless and Pride, as well as applications and prototyping solutions including: the “smart tower”. The tower was equipped with equipment to detect objects, activity analysis, OBUs, computing infrastructure, and data centers. The data is collected for solution providers in the project’s cloud infrastructure, via in house developed IoT middleware. These prototypes were created through close collaboration with partners such as Al Ain Technical Corporation, SICK FZE, DELL, BENQ, Cohda Wireless and Pride.

The UAEU roads will become smart through deployment of smart towers and self-driving golf cars in the campus that will become a unique model in the UAE and the city of Al Ain.