JEDDAH: Twenty innovative projects have been successful at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior’s Absherthon. Absherthon is an incubator that includes all creatives from the ministry and community levels aimed at empowering talents with ideas to contribute to innovating the technology of the ministry.
In cooperation with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (strategic partner), National Information Center (technical partner), and Absher Oasis and Elm, the ministry has chosen winners from approximately 8,000 projects.
Inspired by an unfortunately common occurrence in the vast deserts of the Kingdom where many people lose their way and perish, “Shaheen for the Missing” is a project to help authorities in rescuing missing people using drones.
The team behind the project, made up of Mohammed Mahdi Ibrahim, Saleh Al-Ajlan and Abdullah and Mohammed Al-Mulla, explained that although they faced some challenges stabilizing the drone’s flight and pinpointing the locations of the missing, they upgraded their systems and drone functions to stabilize the drone’s speed while using thermal heat cameras to pin down the approximate location on a digital map for the handler of the drone.
Amal Al-Zamil, along with her team members Belal Yousef, Talal Al-Mutairi and Omar Al-Harbi won third place for their “Smart Driving School” project. She described the project as a fully automated program that evaluates the skills of a car driver.
“We presented the project in which the car itself gives a detailed report about its driver, so that there would be no need for a human instructor to assess the driver’s driving skills and behavior,” Al-Zamil said. She said that their fully automated driving test can be applied on all drivers nationwide.
“All drivers undergo the same test with the same strict testing criteria, and this makes it an objective assessment where personal interference disappears. Those who pass the minimum level can be given a driving license,” she told Arab News.
She added that drivers can get a report of their weak points so that they can work on them before applying for another driving test.
Al-Zamil and her team members are students of the Immersive Data Science program at Misk Academy. She said they had a shared goal to work on a product that could ease people’s lives and reduce traffic-related issues.
The 20 winning projects will be adopted and supported by Absher Oasis for further development using them to encourage innovation and provide better e-services to the Absher platform.
According to supervisor of Absherthon, Lt. Col. Dr. Saud Al-Otaibi, the ministry had started working on its infrastructure to establish an efficient digital transformation in its services.
Al-Otaibi said that the Interior Ministry believes that security begins at the level of the citizen, and gives them the chance to contribute with practical ideas to improve the e-services provided to them.
Absherthon consisted of three main tracks: The first track was for developing an existing e-service, whether that service is already included in the Absher platform services or not. The contestants in this track worked on improving or modifying the existing service, taking into consideration the user experience.
In the second track, participants sought to introduce new services to the Absher platform through developing creative solutions to optimize the services offered by the ministry.
The third track was about providing creative digital solutions that can be used remotely during emergency situations.
More than 10,700 participants, 26 percent of whom are non-Saudis, have registered in the Absherthon’s three tracks, using artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things, drones, blockchain, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to come up with innovative technological ideas that could help the ministry improve its services.
The Interior Ministry has allocated a cash prize of SR100,000 ($27,000) for the winner, SR50,000 ($13,000) for second place and SR20,000 ($5,000) for third place.