Students from Abu Dhabi University claim first place in EGA industrial robotics competition

- Winning robot prototype to be manufactured for use at Emirates Global Aluminium

United Arab Emirates, 7 April, 2021: Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, today announced that a team from Abu Dhabi University has won the third edition of Al Robot, a robotics competition that challenges students at universities and higher education institutions in the UAE to design and build industrial robots for use at EGA’s aluminium smelters.

The annual Al Robot competition aims to provide engineering students with real-life experience of robotics, automation and big data, essential components of Industry 4.0 and important skills for the UAE to achieve its industrialisation strategy Operation 300bn.

The team from Abu Dhabi University was competing against 2 other teams from Abu Dhabi University and one from Heriot-Watt University, who had all progressed to the final prototype round based on the quality of their initial design concepts. EGA funded the development of the teams’ prototypes.

The members of the winning team were Maha Yaghi, Tasnim Basmaji, Abdalla Rashed and Marah AlHalabi.

The challenge for the 2020 Al Robot competition was to develop an autonomous device to measure the condition of EGA’s baking furnace pits, which operate at very high temperatures. The wining team’s robot was capable of capturing aerial images to map out the furnaces and used artificial intelligence to analyse the image data.

Their prototype will now be developed into a fully-functional machine and manufactured for use at EGA’s smelters, reducing the need for manual inspections in a harsh working environment. The team members will receive a cash prize.

Abdalla Al Zarooni, Vice President Technology Development and Transfer at EGA, said: “The engineering students of today will use Industry 4.0 skills to build the UAE’s industries of the future, and the Al Robot competition is an important opportunity for them to apply their academic learning in real-world conditions. This year’s winning team from Abu Dhabi University, showed excellent results and we were very impressed by the level of innovation we saw in the robot designs of our finalists.”

Maha Yaghi, a student from the winning team, said: “EGA is an industrial technology pioneer in the UAE so it was exciting to work at their plant to develop and trial our drone prototype. Competitions like these really show us students possible career paths in STEM, and how we can practically use our university-gained knowledge to support the UAE’s further industrialization.”

EGA has developed aluminium smelting technology in the UAE for more than 25 years. The company has used its own technology in every smelter expansion since the 1990s, and retrofitted all its older production lines.

EGA was also the first UAE industrial company to license its core process technology internationally in 2016, in a major milestone in the development of a knowledge economy in the UAE.

EGA’s technology development team works extensively with universities in both the UAE and internationally. EGA’s academic partnerships include Khalifa University, the American University of Sharjah, Rochester Institute of Technology and Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, and the University of Auckland, University of New South Wales, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.