Abu Dhabi: The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport in Abu Dhabi, has announced that it has signed two agreements with the tech giant, 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 is Project Green Light. An analytical system that utilizes 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 therefore reducing 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 and predict areas of traffic congestion, and develop proactive plans to minimize them.

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

The agreements signed by H.E. Mohamed Hussain Karmastaji, Executive Director of the ITC’s ITS Sector, and Google’s Philipp Schindler, SVP & Chief Business Officer, state that the parties will cooperate on projects that utilize 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 wellbeing of population through designing, planning and implementing innovative transportation and mobility solutions that meets the present and future needs of society. 

In this regard, H.E. Mohamed Karmastaji, the Executive Director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Sector at Integrated Transport Centre, stated: “We are fully committed to driving the transition towards sustainable and efficient transportation systems. For example, our collaboration 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 optimize 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 minimized, 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.”

On the other hand, 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 be collaborating with partners in the UAE on research that will also enhance Arabic representation in AI as we pursue sustainable development."

The same event witnessed the signing of other agreements by Google with the MBZUAI, in which Google would offer research awards to the academic faculty to help accelerate research in areas of foundational models with specific focus on improving the Arab role in the field of AI. Another agreement was also carried out with the UAE Ministry of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications. The agreement is set to conduct quarterly private discussion panels to explore AI principles and policies with senior officials from Google, the government, academic fields, and business representatives in the UAE.