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Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) announced on Wednesday that 61 teams from 14 local and international universities from across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be facing off in the second edition of the Emirates Robotics Competition.

The second run of the contest, which will be organized by Dubai Future Labs, Khalifa University and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), is set to host teams of three to six members. The finalists will then compete in the last stage of the contest to be held in February 2024.

The competition, which encourages young talents to learn new skills and contribute to the UAE's efforts to become a global hub for robotics and AI technologies, focuses on three themed challenges, such as sustainability, recycling and waste collection.

The contest sets tasks for robots to recycle waste and distribute it to the designated places, as well as collect waste from the ground or water or extract pieces of refuse from water. Hence, teams should develop robots that can interact with the surroundings.

Khalifa Al Qama, director of Dubai Future Labs, said the competition's objective is to "prepare a new generation of robotic developers in the UAE, by providing an opportunity to showcase their skills and contribute to current and future challenges in key sectors," WAM reported.

Al Qama noted that the contest is aligned with Dubai Future Labs' efforts to achieve the goals set by the Dubai Robotics and Automation Program, which was launched by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, chairman of Dubai Executive Council and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the DFF.

"We are excited to be part of this fruitful collaboration with Dubai Future Labs and the Rochester Institute of Technology to organize the Emirates Robotics Competition 2024," Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive vice-president of Khalifa University, said.

Al Hammadi added, "This competition aims to inspire young individuals, both in the country and globally, to explore developments in the field of science and innovation. By contributing to the growth of the robotics sector, one of the cornerstones of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our goals align with the directives of the UAE leadership."

Yousef Al Assaf, president of RIT Dubai, expressed his excitement to organize the event for the second time, adding that last year's competition showcased "very creative and robust solutions to different challenges." He further noted that he is looking forward to seeing more "critical thinkers" this year.

Last year's tournament saw 52 teams representing 17 local and international universities. The Middlesex University Dubai team won first place in the transportation challenge, while the Manipal University Dubai team won the maneuvering challenge.