4IR helps KSA become a global hub for new drone technology

4IR helps KSA become a global hub for new drone technology

70 opportunities for the Kingdom to apply 4IR: artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, government data systems, and smart cities such as NEOM

Saudi Arabia has the potential to become a global center for new drone technology under plans being undertaken by the recently launched Fourth Industrial Revolution Center (4IR) in Riyadh in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The center’s director, Mansour Alsaleh, told Arab News that heavy-duty drone technology had been prioritized by the Kingdom as one of the 4IR projects. “Saudi Arabia has the potential to become a leading country in developing a regulatory framework for heavy-duty drones. It can stay ahead of the rest of the world,” he said.

Heavylift drone technology is at a stage that requires more sophisticated regulatory frameworks, not only in the Kingdom but globally, these are the General Authority of Civil Aviation, Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Transport, and Saudi Aramco. “The applications are endless,” says Alsaleh.

Advanced drones are being used to provide vaccines in Africa during the pandemic process, and American drone makers are accelerating efforts to transport heavy cargo (up to 500 kg, depending on technology) to inaccessible locations increase. Improving the Kingdom’s logistical infrastructure has been identified as a priority area of ​​the Vision 2030 strategy, and drones are seen as a major means of strengthening existing transportation systems.

“By integrating these two mutually supportive elements of regulatory reform and pilot testing, Saudi Arabia can become a model for other parts of the world while supporting its own industrial development and social goals. “WEF is co-authored by Arsale.

Alsaleh has identified 70 opportunities for the Kingdom to apply 4IR technology: artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, government data systems, and “smart cities such as NEOM.”

Each potential project went through four stages, he explained: Framework development in collaboration with other stakeholders. Prototyping and testing. Scale-up within the regulatory framework.

At a recent two-day event from Riyadh to celebrate the opening of the 4IR Center, many speakers emphasized the need for partnerships between the government and other parts of the economy and society. Arsale strengthened that view. “We are looking for an ecosystem that involves the public and regulatory sectors in addition to private industry, research, and academia, which is the right blending of these areas,” he said.

One of the challenges was to identify the technology early and develop it further through the “sandboxing” and testing phases, even if the regulatory framework was fully developed. “Sometimes you just have to take risks,” he said. Some experts have warned of challenges related to rapid technology development, such as vulnerability to cyber-attacks and concerns about data privacy, but Alsaleh is confident that these issues can be resolved and overcome. Was there.

“There is no single recipe to solve these challenges. We need to tackle them one by one. But if we focus more on the benefits of 4IR technology, we can overcome them. It helps. We need to minimize the risks of emerging technologies, “he says.

According to Arsale, the impact of 4IR technology extends to all aspects of human social and economic activity. “You can’t limit yourself to a particular sector. It’s everywhere. If you’re not keeping up with the pace and you’re an early adopter, you’re lagging behind,” he explained, with the “exploration” phase of the 4IR project. He emphasized the need to balance the “utilization” phase. But he said that IoT and AI technologies have great market value and can be used in several different applications. “You never know what will shape the future,” he said.

There were also important areas where 4IR technology could be used in climate change campaigns. “We have a circular carbon economy initiative. To achieve the transition to clean energy, 4IR needs to be at the center of it,” Alsaleh said.

Advanced technology is essential to tackle the major problems posed by the pandemic, and some changes, such as remote work via virtual communication systems, could become a permanent feature of the post-pandemic world. I have.

Saudi Arabia is one of the 13 centers of 4IR around the world, and Alsaleh said its benefits will impact the world.

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