Saudi technology buff lives his dream

Ali Al-Suhaibani with one of his drones.
Updated 20 December 2016

Saudi technology buff lives his dream

RIYADH: Ali Al-Suhaibani is the first Saudi to develop the RC plane hobby in the Kingdom and said that ever since he was young he had the desire to improve technologies.
“I’ve always been keen on anything mechanical or technological since childhood,” Al-Suhaibani said. “It started with bicycles, toy cars and paper planes. I used to take toys apart to see how they worked and then tried to replicate their technology. Then that evolved into larger more complex things like cars and motorcycles. Finally I settled on aircraft.” 
He added it is always in his nature to try to improve something by making it work better or be bigger.
Al-Suhaibani first saw expats flying their RC planes in the desert in Riyadh about 30 years ago and decided to buy his own RC plane and learned to fly it. He later started experimenting with building his own planes at home after one of his planes crashed and he fixed its damaged wing.
“The men I first saw flying the RC planes had formed a sort of club and so I observed them to learn more about the planes,” he said. “It was mostly my own interest that pushed me to pursue this hobby.”
He first developed RC planes similar to the ones he was flying. Then Al-Suhaibani decided to try something bigger and grander by building an F-16 model plane. After a while he got into jet engines and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).
Al-Suhaibani built the Typhoon, which is a 1/3 scale model of the real typhoon in shape and flying capability, to show what he is capable of building. It is a prototype with fixed landing gear.
He is now close to finishing the first version of it with retractable landing gear, more power and fixing all other bugs from the prototype.
“It happened little by little as I have always had a workshop for my planes in almost every house I’ve lived in,” he said. “So I would collect the material needed for every project and start working on them in my spare time. It started out as a hobby and then developed into a career.”
One of the projects that Al-Suhaibani is currently working on is a UAV aerial target, which is an aircraft used as a target for training purposes, that he built in his workshop at his home. He is developing it to reach certain requirements such as speed, elevation, duration, etc.

Saudi Arabia launches strategy to become global AI leader

Updated 19 min 24 sec ago

Saudi Arabia launches strategy to become global AI leader

  • Ambitions for 2030 include training 20,000 data and AI specialists and the creation of 300 active data and AI startups

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia launched a national strategy on Wednesday to become a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and data by 2030, attracting more than $20 billion in foreign and local investments.

“Saudi Arabia wants to set the best example globally in using AI for the development of a nation,” Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi, president of the Saudi Data and AI Authority, said during his opening speech at the Global AI Summit announcing the launch of the National Strategy for Data and AI.


Alghamdi also touched on the Kingdom’s other AI and data ambitions for 2030 including training 20,000 data and AI specialists, and attracting the creation of 300 active data and AI startups.

“The strategy aims to make Saudi Arabia the place where the best of data and artificial intelligence is made reality… it sets the foundation and direction upon which we will unlock the potential of data and AI to fulfil our national transformation priorities and establish Saudi Arabia as a global hub for data and AI,” he said.

Alghamdi told participants that Saudi Arabia viewed the summit as an annual platform that would take a look at AI in a fresh and positive perspective that “elevates international collaboration over competition” which emphasizes on the potential benefits with the responsible application of artificial intelligence.

“AI’s potential has led to fierce competition between nations to claim global leadership… there has been an overly negative debate on the risks and dangers of AI,” he said.

The inaugural summit, which honors Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20, aims explore artificial intelligence’s role in the new global era and how its transformational potential can be deployed “to create a better future for all.”

Several major partnerships and initiatives are expected to be announced during the course of the two-day summit focused on accelerating AI for sustainable development in low- and middle-income countries, according to Alghamdi, for a more inclusive future and “no one is left is behind.”