The Japanese government, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization are collaborating to achieve a society in which people and robots work together.

The World Robot Summit is an international event that gathers some of the most advanced roboticists in the industry and accelerates technological development through competitions.

The WRS features robots as a means for solving today’s challenges and promotes the everyday use of robotics in society. The event began with a preliminary competition, the “WRS 2018,” in October 2018. Research Products Development Co. was selected as one of the finalists. We look forward to the main competition scheduled on Sept. 6, 2021.

It is my honor to lead the Saudi national team to compete in the WRS. It was a difficult but certainly rewarding journey.

Our team sponsors

The Saudi national team, led by RPDC and sponsored by NEOM, Aramco, the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, and Taqnia, competed with 119 teams worldwide in the qualification round. Participating in a global robotics competition is a first for Saudi Arabia, yet RPDC managed to qualify among the top 16 teams to compete in the finals in Japan. Qualifying to the finals exemplifies the Saudi team’s ingenuity.

Why now?

As industries around the world make strides to realize the vision of Industry 4.0, many, if not most, will embrace advanced machines to accelerate the digital transformation of their operations. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is an ambitious effort to transform the Kingdom and its economy. A vibrant, comparative, sustainable, and export-oriented manufacturing sector is critical for the realization of Vision 2030.

The WRS requires the finalists to have robots “pick and place” for industrial mechanical assembly. This is one of the most critical challenges for the future of Industry 4.0. The ability of AI to see, pick, and assemble a motor or an engineering device is the key enabler for automation in the industry.

By competing in the WRS, our team will gain a wide variety of technical skills in the robotics industry, and this experience will contribute to establishing more robust Industry 4.0 technologies and enable NEOM and Saudi Arabia to do the same.

Who will benefit?

NEOM’s vision to deploy 100,000 robots is among the most ambitious technological endeavors and demonstrates its commitment to be a city of the future. The WRS in Japan is an opportunity for NEOM as a sponsor for the national team to demonstrate the ability of Saudi Arabia to compete in global competitions to solve technological challenges.

Our goals are to spread and adopt our innovative system solutions and techniques developed under the WRC project to a commercial product and from one NEOM sector of the economy to another.

• Nahid Sidki is the chief technology officer at RPD Innovations and is leading the Saudi national team at the WRS.

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