RIYADH/DUBAI: A World Economic Forum (WEF) Committee leader announced the intention to finalize and launch projects across six different thematic areas in Saudi Arabia under the Kingdom’s fourth industrial revolution (4IR) strategy, including heavy lift drones, artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, and SMEs.
“The heavy lift drones is a collaboration with a dialogue with the ministry of transport and logistics services and then of course the general authority of civil aviation,” Sheila Warren, deputy head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) committee of WEF, told Arab News.
Saudi Arabia could become a global center for new drone technology under plans being advanced by the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) recently inaugurated in Riyadh in partnership with the WEF.
Warren highlighted the experience of Rwanda, which has become a world leader in drone use, experimentation and regulation.
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Saudi Arabia is learning from Rwanda’s experiences in thinking through how to develop a regulatory framework, which informs the work of the center in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi Ministry of Transport and the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), she said.
Heavy lift drone technology had been prioritized by the Kingdom as one of its 4IR projects, Mansour Alsaleh, director of the center, told Arab News. “Saudi Arabia can be a leading country in developing the regulatory framework for heavy-lift drones. It can be ahead of the world.”
Heavy lift drone technology has advanced to a stage where it requires a more sophisticated regulatory framework, he said, not just in the Kingdom but globally, and these are being developed in partnership with the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Transport and Saudi Aramco. “The applications are endless,” Alsaleh said.
Everything started with Vision 2030.
Sheila Warren, deputy head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Heavy lift drones could facilitate the opening up of parts of the Lingdom to housing and development in a way that “you couldn’t really do without that particular engagement,” Warren said.
In a sign of Saudi intention to improve its digital economy, the WEF leader told Arab News that few “fellows” from Aramco visited the C4IR San Francisco office on the blockchain team, on the AI team, and IOT.
The Aramco team is back in the Kingdom bringing all the learning achieved from C4IR teams, not only to Aramco but also to the Saudi center, she said.
Everything started with Vision 2030, Warren said.
“The vision itself talks about backlog with roads and the transport infrastructure, and the idea being that we want people to be able to live healthy, happy, productive lives across the entire Kingdom, which can be challenging with infrastructure,” she said.