Dubai's Ministry of Infrastructure Development to focus more on AI, robots

Dubai's Ministry of Infrastructure Development to focus more on AI, robots
Published: 24 April 2019 - 3:45 p.m.

The fifth annual MEP UAE Conference 2019, held on 24 April in Dubai, began on an innovative note. Eng. Andulrahman Omar Ali Alkholy, senior electrical engineer, Design Department, Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MOID), said that MOID has already started adopting innovative solutions in its processes and projects in line with the National Innovation Strategy.

In October 2014, HH Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, launched the UAE National Innovation Strategy with the aim of making the UAE one of the most innovative nations in the world within seven years.

In February 2018, the UAE government approved the National Strategy for Advanced Innovation. The new strategy is the updated version of the National Innovation Strategy and marks a new phase that is based on enabling people to shift from focusing on vital sectors to the goals and outcomes in seven areas: exploration; future skills; quality of health; living and life; green power; transport; and harnessing technology to serve humankind.

Ali Alkholy began his presentation with a quote from HH Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, “Innovation is an existential question and only those who embrace innovation can drive sustained change in the world”.
Ali Alkholy said that innovation has to be a constant process in order to survive tough market conditions. He gave an example of Nokia losing out in the mobile phones business. He said: “Nokia didn’t do anything wrong. They just did not continue to innovate.”
MOID has adopted innovation over the last few years. Under a government mandate, it is obligatory for all ministries to adopt and embrace innovation technologies in their organisation. On the basis of that, Dr. Abdullah Belhaif AlNuaimi, Minister of MOID, set up rules for all divisions and departments to build an innovative plan, said Ali Alkholy.

Talking about MOID’s journey towards innovation, Ali Alkholy said: “In 2015, we started a culture of innovation. We wanted to invest more in research and development. We developed a model that will have all the information about buildings, HVAC, electrical, architecture, structure of the building etc. In 2016, we mandated the use of BIM in all our projects.

“In 2021, we aim towards developing an AI (artificial intelligence). To achieve this goal, we need to start from now. In February 2019, we announced that we are developing a robot that is going to design, plan, and even supervise the sites to help MOID engineers to take decisions.”

MOID in the UAE started to invent and design the first customised humanoid robot that will act as an expert consultant engineer, well-versed in deep learning, machine learning, and predictive analytics model along with other innovative technologies to study, act, interact and analyse the status of the Ministries’ processes and services. The robot will help in project planning, design, execution until closing, and finally, operation and maintenance.

The robot will start using deep learning algorithm to operationalise artificial intelligence and other advanced analytic models from experts, engineers and international benchmarking to generate customised report of the projects including duration, cost, risk assessment, preferred locations, and so on. The robot will be involved in MOID core businesses to validate and generate reports with recommended structural codes including project design best practices and value engineering. This will assist MOID engineers in obtaining results, review projects design, which will reduce human error, maximising project efficiency and value.

Furthermore, the robot will be able to automate the design processes including the structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing requirements. In the execution stage, the robot will monitor projects to analyse execution, by taking 3D images and video through an automated drone controlled by the robot’s AI brain and will compare them with results generated from previous stages to track project milestones. The robot will send alert and notifications to MOID representatives about project progress proactively to avoid any changes in timelines or to avoid any unforeseen failures.

The project will use its AI brain in operations and maintenance stage by using building facility management and road asset management concept to monitor control. The AI brain will collect various data and take preventative action.

Ali Alkholy concluded his presentation by stating: “With your help, I think we can bring the future today.”

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