MBZUAI and Virgin Hyperloop Partner to Advance Transportation Sector in the Middle East Through AI

Collaboration seeks to accelerate global development of hyperloop technology and sustainable transport innovation

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Abu Dhabi –  :

Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the world’s first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence (AI) university, and Virgin Hyperloop, the California-based category leader in hyperloop development, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to initiate a collaborative approach to research and innovation in the field of AI.

In a virtual ceremony, the MoU was signed by His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at MBZUAI, and His Excellency Sultan Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Virgin Hyperloop, in the presence of Professor Sir Michael Brady, Interim President at MBZUAI; Dr. Ling Shao, Executive Vice President and Provost at MBZUAI; Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Executive Vice President for Outreach and Engagement at MBZUAI, and Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director Middle East and India at Virgin Hyperloop.

MBZUAI and Hyperloop will engage the best AI minds of both teams to pursue three core objectives: joint fundamental research in several key AI domains, such as computer vision; massively parallel cloud computing initiatives, and a range of solution-oriented commercial projects in the smart transportation industry.

Transporting passengers and goods at speeds exceeding 1,000km/h, hyperloop is a completely new form of transport with the ambition to become the most sustainable means of mass transportation of the 21st century. The potential of AI, which is fundamental to Virgin Hyperloop’s future operations in the Middle East, will form the core basis to explore knowledge exchange opportunities between MBZUAI and Virgin Hyperloop.

Speaking on the announcement, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “This partnership exemplifies the immense capacity of AI to reshape the world around us by breaking boundaries. Virgin Hyperloop will change the way we move around the world. MBZUAI will help enable this by providing access to some of the world’s most talented AI professionals, as well as superior research facilities, which can contribute to realizing Virgin Hyperloop’s vision.”

His Excellency Sultan Bin Sulayem said: “Our region has great potential to emerge as a global powerhouse from the current economic situation. The transportation and technology sector – and that includes advancements in AI in particular – will define our regional capabilities in the long-term. Supported by AI, we are ultimately offering time with this disruptive, completely new, and sustainable technology that will help us to create an on-demand economy. We seek to revolutionize regional transport and trade sectors through a passenger and cargo hyperloop-enabled system, powered by AI. We can transport people and high-priority goods at the speed of an airliner, moving them between economic zones, cities and emirates. The UAE’s education sector, through partnerships such as our new collaboration with MBZUAI, will have a meaningful role in enabling and driving this very exciting and growing industry.”

Mr. Dhaliwal said: “With hyperloop, we find ourselves at an important crossroads of transport innovation. AI will play an important part and it promises to transform the customer experience, from seamless check-ins to smooth system operations. Together with our institutional partners at MBZUAI, we want to further accelerate the global hyperloop development, leading to the commercialization of the most sustainable means for mass transport in the 21st century.”

MBZUAI will offer Master of Science (MSc) and PhD level programs while also engaging policymakers and businesses around the world so that AI is harnessed as a force for positive transformation. The University has already begun the process of vetting the applications for 2021 intake, with thousands of applications received from over 80 countries.

Graduate students can apply to MBZUAI via the University’s website for 2021 registration. The first class of graduate students will commence coursework at MBZUAI’s Masdar City campus in January 2021.

The University will provide all admitted students with a full scholarship, plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance, and accommodation. MBZUAI will work with leading local and global companies to secure internships and will also assist students in finding employment opportunities.

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