Hyperloop, self-driving cars, 3D organ prints pioneer Dubai's future

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With 2,274 applications from 73 countries and less than two per cent of them making the final cut, the Dubai Future Accelerators has announced the names of the companies that have been accepted to participate in the 12-week programme.

For 12 weeks, these 30 companies will work with the seven government authorities participating in Dubai Future Accelerators to develop and test products and solutions for the challenges that face key economic and strategic sectors in the cities of the 21st century in the UAE, and that can also be applied to countries in the region and around the world.

Mohammed Al Gergawi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Dubai Future Foundation, reiterated that the success Dubai has had in pioneering a new generation of business accelerator programmes and the key role that the emirate is playing in shaping the future.

He attributed this to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the close involvement of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Dubai Future Foundation.

“Through this initiative, the UAE is seeking to redefine the international role of business accelerators,” said Al Gergawi.

He continued: “These accelerators will now adhere to the government’s agenda and strategies, and serve as a catalyst to research and development within the most strategic sectors, such as education, health, infrastructure, transportation, and energy.

"They will provide a global platform to develop new and innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing society.”

He stressed that the initiative seeks to achieve the targets of Dubai Future Agenda by ensuring sustainability and innovation within the strategic sectors of the UAE, adding: "Moreover, it will explore new sectors based on the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution, which will create a market worth billions of dollars and revolutioniwe the business models that we know today."

The number of applications that the Dubai Future Accelerators programme has succeeded in attracting in record time makes it one of the fastest-growing business acceleration programmes in the world.

“Now that we have concluded the selection phase of the Dubai Future Accelerators programme, we can go ahead with the actual testing stage for the innovative solutions in cooperation with the relevant authorities,” explained Saif Al Aleeli .

“Following an in-depth study – undertaken with our partners and a group of leading experts – to test the feasibility and effectiveness of each entry’s proposed solutions for the challenges facing the relevant key sectors, we can confidently say that we have selected the most innovative and promising applicants.”

The shortlisted entries

The list of finalists chosen to take part in the first round of the programme includes a selection of the most innovative companies in the world that are currently developing and testing creative ideas and advanced technologies with a future outlook.

The finalists will develop solutions in such sustainable sectors as Hyperloop transport, 3D printing, and digital financial transactions.

The most prominent names on the list are Hyperloop One, which is developing a transportation system set to outpace the speed of light; Next Future Transportation, specialising in mass-transit solutions and self-driving vehicles; Concensys, the world’s largest software provider for app developers and Blockchain companies; Construction Robotics, specialising in construction solutions that increase productivity five-fold; and Honeywell, the Fortune 100 company working on developing advanced digital systems for the healthcare sector.

Next Future Transportation is a Silicon Valley-based company developing a smart transportation system consisting of electrical units able to accommodate up to six passengers, operate independently, and communicate with each other.

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, meanwhile, is working on a high-speed transit system consisting of “capsules” that can travel in a network of depressurised underwater vacuum tunnels, which allows them to travel at speeds as high as 1,200 km/h.

Construction Robotics provides solutions for the construction sector using robotics, 3D printing, and automation systems, while Concensys develops applications for facilitating commercial and financial transactions using Blockchain technology – these applications help maintain records and data, all the while allowing for a secure exchange of financial assets without the need for a middle man.

Finally, Honeywell is making strides in developing the “healthcare at home solutions” – a system set to allow hospitals and clinics to provide the most advanced possible care for their patients.

The Dubai Future Accelerators programme comprises three rounds every year.

Each round lasts three months, during which the programme works to attract the world’s best emerging companies to find solutions for challenges – as well as ways to capitalise on economic opportunities – it identifies within strategic economic sectors by creating new technologies.

The initiative also provides training programmes for participants to learn about business development and prototyping, as well as to create pilot projects for the City of Dubai.

By the end of the training programmes, participants should be able to build a profitable business model, in cooperation with the relevant government entities and global experts.

The Dubai Future Accelerators programme is an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation, and part of the Waqf’s US$275-million “Future Fund”.

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