ABU DHABI - The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport in Abu Dhabi has signed two agreements with Google. The agreements showcase UAE’s efforts that aim towards advancing the country's key AI priorities in the fields of research and sustainability.

The announcement was made during an event at the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), where the ITC disclosed the launch of two initiatives, one of them being Project Green Light. An analytical system that utilises AI techniques by collecting and analysing traffic data at intersections and providing recommendations that improve the efficiency of traffic lights in the emirate to help reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions.

As for the second initiative, Google’s AI Platform will be leveraged to analyse big data generated from Google Maps to forecast traffic, predict traffic congestion areas and develop proactive plans to minimise them.

The ITC will also receive accurate real-time data on the status of accidents and areas of traffic congestion from Google Maps.

The agreements were signed by Mohamed Hussain Karmastaji, Executive Director of the ITC’s ITS Sector, and Google’s Philipp Schindler, SVP & Chief Business Officer.

The agreements state that the parties will cooperate on projects that utilise the power of AI in a manner that improves the quality of life in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and contributes to reducing pollution and enhances the overall well-being of the population through designing, planning and implementing innovative transportation and mobility solutions that meet the present and future needs of society.

Commenting on the collaboration, Karmastaji said that collaborating with Google will produce results that benefit road users in real-time. Project Green Light is a pilot project to develop an AI tool to harvest critical data on traffic conditions at intersections which will automatically optimise the efficiency of traffic light functions, helping to reduce vehicle congestion hot-spots and thus improve air quality across the emirate by lowering carbon emissions.

"Through continued partnerships like this with government bodies, private sector partners, and community stakeholders, we are shaping a future where congestion is minimised, air quality is improved and our cities thrive in harmony with the environment. With the launch of new AI tools, we are taking a significant step towards enhancing the daily commute experience for residents. We are excited about the positive impact this will have on our city, and we look forward to collaborating with stakeholders to create a sustainable, intelligent transportation system,” he added.

Karan Bhatia, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy at Google, commented, "Building AI responsibly must be a collective effort involving researchers, social scientists, industry experts, governments, and the public. There is so much we can accomplish, and so much we must get right together. We're pleased to collaborate with partners in the UAE on research that will enhance Arabic representation in AI as we pursue sustainable development."