Innovators find solutions for the future at KAUST

Updated 16 September 2019

Innovators find solutions for the future at KAUST

Hundreds of developers, designers, programmers and entrepreneurs from around Saudi Arabia came together recently to design next-generation technologies in food, water and energy for implementation in Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion global model for future living NEOM, the event’s challenge partner. 

The JUNCTIONxKAUST hackathon took place Sept. 12-14 on campus at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The winning team eFarmers will be attending the global Junction hackathon in Helsinki, Finland, taking place in November later this year. 

Out of 1,200 applications, only 200 participants were selected to compete in this year’s hackathon. The attendees were supported by over 25 mentors from the Saudi Data Community, including: Developer Circles Jeddah, GDG Jeddah, Geeks Valley, Udacity and KAUST Core Labs. 

This is the second Junction hackathon hosted by KAUST. Each year, KAUST works with a network of partners to design innovative solutions to shared global challenges. “At KAUST our mission is to create solutions for the future of food, water, energy and the environment,” said Kevin Cullen, vice president for innovation and economic development at KAUST. 

“We do this through advanced research and working with partners to develop new products and technology. This hackathon was an incredible opportunity to partner with NEOM to solve real challenges facing the Kingdom and for students and innovators to work together in creating a shared sustainable future.”

During the hackathon, participants were asked to solve three challenges regarding the future of water, energy, and food technology products and services in NEOM. Mark Tester, head of the future of food sector at NEOM and professor of plant science at KAUST, said: “NEOM is the land of the future. We are looking for the most innovative and cutting-edge solutions to challenges in generating energy, growing food and sourcing water. The Junction hackathon with KAUST showed the unlimited potential of young people from around Saudi Arabia in answering these challenges.”

Technology partners Microsoft and UnitX offered additional technical solutions, including Microsoft’s Azure and UnitX’s Sentient, a cloud-based supercomputing platform. Saleh Al-Zaid, intelligent cloud business group lead at Microsoft, said: “Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Hence, we at Microsoft support innovators and entrepreneurs all over the world to achieve more. This hackathon at KAUST brought top talent from all over Saudi Arabia to put Microsoft technology to the test.”

The winners of JUNCTIONxKAUST included:

•1st place: eFarmers, a sensor technology that accurately detects ground humidity for plants.

•2nd place: Arks, a machine learning technology that detects water leakage in homes.

•3rd place: Nutrax, a food scanning app that accurately identifies all nutritional information.


ALJ Motors unveils Toyota Granvia in Saudi Arabia

Updated 13 October 2019

ALJ Motors unveils Toyota Granvia in Saudi Arabia

Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, the authorized distributor of Toyota vehicles in Saudi Arabia, has unveiled the new Toyota Granvia in the Saudi market.

Designed to provide an exceptional transportation space that addresses the growing demand for high-end shuttles, the new vehicle’s design, interior, engine, and safety features enable the riders to travel with total peace of mind.

“We are very excited to unveil the new Granvia, a true premium transport solution that meets the evolving needs of those desiring a spacious cabin, unrivaled comfort, and superior refinement. By providing ample personal space, we have ensured that each passenger will enjoy a smooth, comfortable ride and arrive at their destination feeling relaxed and refreshed,” said Mazin Jameel, executive director, marketing, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors.

“At Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, we believe that travel should always be an enjoyable experience, and it was our goal to launch an exceptional Toyota vehicle that enhances people’s journeys by creating memorable moments to cherish. I would like to extend my gratitude to all of our guests for their continuous support, which is an endless source of inspiration in our drive to introduce ‘ever-better’ cars,” Jameel added.

The new Granvia takes the concept of a luxury shuttle to the next level with premium seating for up to six people, including a standard feature of four leather ottomans with footrests — a class first. Its expansive cabin delivers a level of comfort and refinement passengers would normally associate with a high-end limousine, complete with independent rear climate control, adjustable interior illumination, and luxurious woodgrain and metallic finishing, among many other features.

The relationship between Toyota and Abdul Latif Jameel Motors was established more than half-century ago, and has grown to become one of the most remarkable automotive forces in the Kingdom.

Abdul Latif Jameel Motors is also one of the largest independent certified Toyota distributors in the world. Under its principle of putting the guest first and its commitment to achieving excellence in all it has to offer, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors supports the widespread use of Toyota vehicles in the Saudi market through an extensive network of sales and maintenance centers strategically located around the Kingdom, providing peace of mind for their guests, wherever they may be.