Team Saudi Arabia showcases broad scientific plans for pollution-free world

DUBAI — Though it has been only three short months since the Saudi team members got to know one another, the atmosphere of enthusiasm, collaboration and camaraderie dominates their participation at the 2019 FIRST Global Challenge in Dubai.

Visiting the team’s showcase, one is amazed at the scope and scale of their dreams for a world free of pollution that go beyond borders and horizons and benefit people everywhere. The team leader, Maysoon Humaidan, said the team was strapped in its efforts at preparing for the competition, given the limited timelines. They spent the last few days struggling and challenging the impossible to ensure they made it for the event. She pointed out that the team members are young enthusiasts of science and knowledge, and they represent hope for the future, not only for Saudi Arabia, but humanity at large.

It is not surprising that these young people hold such ambitions, especially given the giant strides the country has taken in activating the role of youth in the development of the technology sector and its application across all walks of life. Recently, the country announced that it was introducing artificial intelligence and robotics applications in the Ministry of Education, to raise the level of customer service and enhance their happiness. Two years ago, Saudi Arabia announced that it was granting Saudi citizenship to the robot Sofia, the symbol of Neom, a city of the future that reflects Saudi Arabia’s keenness in shaping sustainable and smart cities.

Team Saudi Arabia said the biggest dream they hope to achieve through their participation is to motivate Saudi youth to enter the fields of science, technology, and mathematics for their important role in finding solutions to the problems and challenges facing humanity, including the environmental challenge.

This is the first time the team members are presenting an innovation at the FIRST Global Challenge. Fourteen-year-old Sulafa Al Shehri, stressed that what impressed her the most in the journey to reach the First Global Robotics Challenge and artificial intelligence is the knowledge she acquired in the field of technology, sustainability and environmental protection.

Fadel Younes, 15, believes that modern technology if properly employed, can solve the world’s problems and identify solutions that will lead humanity to a better future.

Inaugurated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, the First Global Challenge, organized by the Dubai Future Foundation has attracted the participation of 1,500 students, from 190 countries from October 24 to 27, to compete in national teams, and leverage robotics and artificial intelligence to develop innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, thereby creating a better future for humankind. This year’s edition of the international challenge focuses on protecting our marine environment.

The FIRST Global Challenge 2019 in Dubai establishes the emirate’s leading position as a testbed for innovative solutions that not only anticipate future technology but employ it to build a better future for humanity. The Challenge is also seeking to encourage Arab youth to innovate in the areas of robotics, programming, artificial intelligence and advanced sciences to ensure the contribution of Arab competencies in the march of human civilization and in building a brighter future for mankind. — SG

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