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AI, smart mobility in focus at World Road Congress 2019 in Abu Dhabi

Opening day of the event saw high-level discussions on the future of transport in Abu Dhabi and the wider region

World Road Congress 2019 opened on 6 October.
World Road Congress 2019 opened on 6 October.

The 26th World Road Congress 2019 – held for the first time in the Middle East – under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, kicked off on 6 October at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) with high-level meetings, workshops, and sessions to debate the future of road-building.

According to UAE state news agency, Wam, the opening day of the event included discussions on the UAE’s sustainable infrastructure, and Abu Dhabi’s road transformation programme.

A ministerial session was held during which high-level delegates deliberated the need for countries to collaborate, and land-use planning session was hosted to analyse the need for governments to explore smart mobility options to reduce congestion.

Also conducted on Day 1 of World Road Congress 2019 was a session on the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in the roads sector, which included discussions on self-driving and electric cars.

Commenting on the growing role of AI in the transport sector, the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, said: “There are uses of AI outside autonomous vehicles like land usage, traffic management, developing infrastructure, and generating monumental amount of data that today are required for us to improve the way we do businesses."

Day 2 of the event will focus on sustainable financing for transport infrastructure, road infrastructure resilience, and the contribution of road transport to sustainability and economic development, among 19 other sessions and workshops.

World Road Congress was inaugurated by HH Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, in the presence of HH Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Transport; Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, the UAE's Minister of Infrastructure Development and chairman of Federal Transport Authority; and Claude Van Rooten, president of World Road Association. 

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