Government, Industry, and Researchers Converge to Discuss “The Future of Mobility” in ASPIRE Industry Seminar


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The U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council was on hand to support the inaugural ASPIRE industry seminar on Thursday, October 20th about the “future of mobility.” This seminar brought together officials, executives, and researchers to exchange ideas and explore partnerships that support the creation of an innovation ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.

Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of ASPIRE and Technology Innovation Institute (TII), introduced the focus and vision of ASPIRE and TII and their role in driving applied research and development across industries in Abu Dhabi. ASPIRE and TII represent two key pillars of the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), an overarching entity mandated to shape an advanced R&D ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and drive the research priorities of the U.A.E. ASPIRE serves as ATRC’s technology program development pillar, and TII as the applied research arm. 

Dr. Johnson explained that the goal of this event, the first in a series of seminars, is to have conversations with industry and develop a better understanding of some of the challenges facing the sector as well as the opportunities which have yet to be realized.
From L to R: Ahmed Al Mutawa, Project Manager for Technology Commercialization, ATRC; Ahmed Shaibani, Section Head for Integrated Planning, ITC Abu Dhabi; Stephen Rutherford, Global Solutions Director for Transport Planning, Jacobs; and Ahmed Arab, Head of Business Development MEA, Uber.
Two panel discussions featured senior representatives from U.S. and U.A.E. companies that are leading in both the local and global mobility ecosystem. In the first panel, industry experts from the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) Abu Dhabi, Jacobs, and Uber critically examined the challenges companies, consumers, and regulators face in the transportation ecosystem in the U.A.E. In the second panel, executives from Boeing, Elroy Air, and Amazon explored the transition to a greener future for logistics. 

Keynote speaker Mauricio Zuazua, Head of Automotive, Transportation, and Infrastructure Practice at Kearney offered insight into the role of innovation in the future of the mobility industry and how to harness advances in AI, big data, and IoT to revolutionize the current landscape. 

Participants met with researchers from TII in small workshop groups designated based on the specific interest and experience of the companies and their representatives. These workshops served to engage TII’s researchers and the industry experts in meaningful discussions about targeted topics relevant to the future of the mobility industry in the U.A.E.

This seminar was the first of a series of exclusive industry seminars that ASPIRE will host on a variety of topics important to the emerging research and development ecosystem in Abu Dhabi. The next seminar will be held on Tuesday, November 22nd on agricultural technology. 

For questions about this event or the Business Council’s activities in this sector, please contact Alyssa Kristeller at