KSA to transform mass transit with autonomous trains

Fabrice Toulouse, director of smart mobility at Alstom.
Updated 17 July 2018
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KSA to transform mass transit with autonomous trains

When Saudi Arabia’s residents imagine the transportation of tomorrow, the popular image is of autonomous cars plowing Riyadh’s King Abdullah Road, carrying workers, university students, and football fans alike. But with the Saudi government heavily investing in mass transit and advanced technology, the likely future of transport is quite different. Automation is set to transform not only cars but also shared transportation, such as metros, trains, trams, and buses. 

As automation progresses, the costs of sensors and artificial intelligence are decreasing, while the computing power of connected vehicles is increasing. As a result, the Kingdom is at the forefront of using automation to make mass transit faster, cheaper, safer, and more energy efficient — especially on metros and mainline trains in the short term, and buses and trams further ahead.

For example, the Saudi government is heavily investing in autonomous transportation across the country, including the driverless Riyadh Metro, with lines 4, 5, and 6 being developed by the Alstom-partnered FAST consortium. Further in the Kingdom, autonomous transportation will be a key part of the transportation plans for the NEOM Smart City, and regionally, automated transport was a key topic at the recent MENA Transport Congress hosted by the UITP, the international organization for public transport.

In the Saudi cities of the future, automation of signaling and trains could make its biggest impact in enhancing the effectiveness of metros and mainline trains.

Alstom, as a global leader in mobility solutions, is exchanging best practices in autonomous transport with the Middle East, and is supporting rail innovation in the Kingdom by conducting initial dynamic tests for the Riyadh Metro Project at the FAST consortium Line 4 Depot Test Track. Line 4 will feature driverless trains, state-of-the-art signaling, safe and secure stations, and advanced real-time passenger information systems.

“Automation can significantly reduce traffic congestion, costs, and pollution. It can increase travel speeds and rapidly boost the country’s urban economic growth. 

As the Kingdom ramps up its investment in smart cities and Saudi Vision 2030, government organizations and the private sector need to take the next six months to plan the future of automated transport,” said Fabrice Toulouse, director of smart mobility at Alstom. 


PNU, Dell EMC certify first batch of female data scientists

Updated 18 August 2018
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PNU, Dell EMC certify first batch of female data scientists

Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University (PNU), the largest university for women in the world, has partnered with Dell EMC to train and certify Saudi Arabia’s first batch of female data scientists.

In line with Saudi Vision 2030 to promote a knowledge-based economy, PNU partners with national and international organizations to provide degrees and certificates for Saudi female students and graduates. 

The College of Computer and Information Sciences provides a number of certifications and technical training courses in its curriculum for three bachelor degrees — computer science, information systems and information technology. As a member of Dell EMC’s External Research and Academic Alliance Program, the college has successfully trained and certified 57 female data science and big data analytics students this semester with an additional 103 students certified in cloud infrastructure. 

The university also successfully introduced the VMware Install, Configure and Manage course as an elective training course for senior students. 

Auhood Alfaries, dean of College of Computer and Information Sciences, PNU, said: “Building a comprehensive curriculum to cover the essential knowledge area for the computing disciplines and to equip our students with the skills required for the future workplace is a priority for Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. We are proud to be a leading university to actively promote the data-skilled taskforce in the Kingdom through the introduction of industry-relevant certifications and trainings. 

“We strive to continually evolve to contribute toward building a knowledge-based economy, in alignment with Saudi Vision 2030, through strategic academic partnerships such as the Dell EMC External Research and Academic Alliance program which plays a crucial role in effectively developing our students into tomorrow’s workforce.” 

A recent study by Dell Technologies titled “Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future” highlighted the lack of workforce readiness as the leading barrier in the Middle East to becoming a successful digital business in 2030, further emphasizing the need for skill development among existing employees and future generations. 

Mohammed Amin, senior vice president and regional manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Dell EMC, said: “The unrelenting pace of digital transformation in the marketplace is creating new challenges for all of us where organizations as well as individuals are increasingly realizing that investing in workforce readiness and the development of new skills is key to future success and competitive differentiation. 

“We congratulate Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University on this wonderful achievement and look forward to continuing to work with them to advance the technical education of women in the region.”

Marwa Zaghow, senior manager, External Research and Academic Alliance, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Dell EMC, said: “The Dell EMC External Research and Academic Alliance program collaborates with innovative colleges and universities like Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University to effectively contribute to the regional priority of developing IT skillsets among the youth and specifically women.”