First Global Challenge kicks off in Dubai - GulfToday

First Global Challenge kicks off in Dubai


This event reflects the UAE’s belief in the importance of empowering young people in UAE, the wider region and the rest of the world to shape the future.

The First Global Challenge 2019 in Dubai, the third edition of the annual international robotics competition, kicked off at Festival Arena on Friday with the participation of more than 1,500 contestants from 191 countries. This year’s theme – “Ocean Opportunities” – focuses on creating robots to clean up the oceans through eliminating waste and pollutants.

A number of senior officials and executives attended the first day of the competition with local and international media covering the event that is taking place outside the Americas for the first time after the United States and Mexico hosted the first two editions. The choice of Dubai as the host of this year’s competition reaffirms its global leadership status in the empowerment of youth through the development of technology and innovation, and aligns with the values of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and Deputy Managing Director of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) stressed the importance of hosting this event as part of the UAE’s journey in shaping the future and keeping pace with the rapid technological developments driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) across the board.

Omar Sultan Al Olama said: “Robotics is one of the most important fields of scientific competition among the world’s largest economies. The UAE’s interest in this vital domain stems from the economic and scientific opportunities associated with robots in diverse areas of life, in addition to the country’s keenness to contribute to finding solutions to anticipated challenges that may face the world in the future.”

He added: “Hosting this international event reflects the UAE’s belief in the importance of accelerating the pace of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and empowering young people in our country, the wider region and the rest of the world to shape the future. The high level of commitment we saw from the participants on day one of the competition gives us confidence for a better tomorrow, where those bright minds and hearts will lead the way.”

Dean Kamen, Founder of the First Global, said: “It’s not hard to see why Dubai has made this event such a spectacular success. I like to think of Dubai as the poster child for the hosting of high-tech events and the development of emerging technologies. You know you’re at the center of the world here, and there’s a real drive and ambition to turn this place into a global hub for innovation led by youth.”

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), said, “The UAE has become a global laboratory for ideas owing to its visionary strategies and its ongoing efforts to spearhead the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Through this global event that coincides with the Year of Tolerance, we seek to not only fast-track scientific advancements, but also bring together people of the world to save our earth, the planet we have the responsibility to preserve. What may seem like a competition is, in essence, a giant collaborative effort to address the challenge of ocean pollution – it’s our acknowledge of the hard work of thousands of young people who spend their time to find solutions to save the world in which they will grow up with their children. The competition embodies the concept of competitive cooperation towards a noble goal. This is the mindset we need in order to save our environment for the future generations.”

The competition venue features six competition areas, each with six teams competing. Three teams form an alliance against the other three. The goal is to score the maximum number of points during the qualifying days, after which the teams with the highest scores will proceed to the finals based on a rankings system, set to take place on Sunday, October 27, followed by the announcement of the winners and an award ceremony to conclude the tournament.

The purpose-built venue includes team areas, training spaces, two playgrounds and a space for assembling and preparing robots before the competition. One of its most important parts is the Robotics Clinic that enables teams to perform any repairs that may be required, and is staffed by Emirati volunteers as well as participants from abroad.


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