by Expo Events Consulting Expo Events Consulting

Inaugural future mobility event DRIFTx kicks off in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s inaugural DRIFTx, an international platform and exhibition for smart, autonomous, and sustainable urban mobility applications across air, land, and sea, kicked off today at Yas Marina Circuit. The event gathered 80 international mobility experts and innovators and 75 global exhibitors igniting discussions on the latest trends and showcasing innovations and breakthroughs in transportation and sustainable mobility.

The event is held in collaboration with the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Abu Dhabi’s Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) cluster, Bayanat, and key local and international strategic partners.

Abu Dhabi’s strategic initiatives in transforming urban mobility and infrastructure were showcased at the event, in a fireside chat between H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman, Department of Municipalities and Transport, and Hasan Ahmed Al Hosani, Managing Director, Bayanat, discussing the role of public-private partnerships in driving innovation and implementation, challenges and successes in integrating traditional transport with new mobility solutions and future goals and projections for Abu Dhabi’s urban mobility landscape.

H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman, Department of Municipalities and Transport, said: “Abu Dhabi has all the right components to take the future of mobility to the next level. We have a forward-looking government, agile and aligned stakeholders from both the public and private sectors, and we have some of the best infrastructure in the world. That’s why we’re continuously partnering with the world’s most exciting innovators across mobility who are attracted to the Abu Dhabi’s leading proposition. This is an exciting time, throughout DRIFTx, you’ll get a glimpse of mobility products that will become operational in the immediate future.”

A talk on the Emirate’s Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) cluster was led by Nayef Shahin, Director of Innovation and Knowledge at ADIO. The cluster looks to position Abu Dhabi as a leading smart and autonomous vehicles hub, making significant contributions across air, land and sea mobility applications, with plans towards contributing AED 44 billion to Abu Dhabi’s GDP and creating between 35,000 to 40,000 jobs by 2045.

Nayef Shahin spoke about the importance of ensuring the right elements are in place to attract the world’s best innovators into the SAVI ecosystem: “At SAVI we have prioritised research and development, we have the capabilities to test products and we’re now developing manufacturing capabilities. We’re also collaborating with all necessary private and public stakeholders to ensure our innovative solutions have real-world impact. As a result of this, we believe that flying taxis will be operational in Abu Dhabi in the near future.”

Convening global leaders in air mobility, JoeBen Bevirt, CEO, Joby Aviation, Adam Goldstein, CEO, Archer Aviation and Aqeel Ahmed Al Zarouni, Assistant Director General, Aviation Safety Affairs discussed the latest advancements in drone technology, eVTOL aircrafts, and the opportunities and challenges for integrating them into within existing urban infrastructure in addition to the current regulatory landscape governing urban air mobility. This was followed by an insightful conversation with Abdulla Mohammed Alashram, Group CEO, 7X, Nicolas Petrovic, CEO, Etihad Rail Mobility, Dr. Noura Al Dhaheri, CEO – Digital Cluster – AD Ports Group Maqta Gateway, Mohamed Al Dhaheri, CEO, Technology Holding Company, and Svilen Rangelov, CEO of Dronamics on the evolving landscape of last-mile delivery, highlighting the role of drones, autonomous vehicles, and AI in optimizing logistics.

Adam Goldstein, CEO and Founder of Archer Aviation, said: “At DRIFTx you have an opportunity to glimpse into the future, which is incredibly fascinating. Abu Dhabi offers a unique opportunity, there is an exciting energy here, and at Archer we’re collaborating with partners leveraging the support of the Emirate’s enabling ecosystem.”

A first of its kind global event, DRIFTx is showcasing a never-before-seen display of flying taxis, driverless cars, and autonomous boats, and other one-of-a-kind experiences for its 3000+ attendees. The participants are made up of representatives from the global mobility ecosystem, including multi-national organizations, governments, investors, academia, regulatory bodies, the global start-up community, and civil society.

Joby Aviation signed a multilateral MOU with the Department of Municipalities and Transport – Abu Dhabi (DMT), the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) to support and scale Joby air taxi services in the UAE.

ADIO has also singed a framework agreement with Archer Aviation to accelerate Archer’s planned commercial air taxi operations in the UAE, slated to launch as soon as next year. Furthermore, ADIO announced its collaboration with electric seaglider pioneer, Regent to support and attract investment for seaglider development and manufacturing at the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industry (SAVI) cluster.

The event’s 20 local and international partners have a significant stake in the future of mobility, and seek to generate lasting breakthroughs globally. The diverse entities each bring their own unique innovations, expertise, and cutting-edge technology to DRIFTx. The Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) is the event’s hosting partner while Bayanat is an anchor partner.

Bayanat is showcasing a range of groundbreaking technologies including TXAI, Robo Minibuses, Airwolf eVTOL hoverbike demo model, and advanced drones. As part of its dedicated pavilion, Bayanat will host leading smart mobility providers from around the world, fostering collaboration and exchange of ideas to advance the future of urban mobility.
Joining as ecosystem partners are the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) who seek to reinforce the UAE’s emergence as a global capital for advanced urban mobility through SAVI, Abu Dhabi’s Smart & Autonomous Vehicle Industry Cluster – who is also represented as an ecosystem partner.

The event also featured innovative displays and demos by strategic partners at DRIFTx which include: The Abu Dhabi Chamber, Joby, Emirates Driving Company, 7X, Multi Level Group, Archer, Abu Dhabi Ports, Etihad Rail, EDGE, Plug and Play, Startupbootcamp, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Abu Dhabi SME Hub, CharIn and LabCardi.
Commenting on the partnership, H.E. Ahmed Khalifa Al Qubaisi, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The sponsorship of the Chamber, in conjunction with our strategic collaboration with DRIFTx, is aimed at bolstering the business sector in Abu Dhabi, given its significant role in promoting growth and prosperity across various commercial and industrial sectors, including smart and sustainable transportation sector, as well as the advanced technologies and artificial intelligence sectors.”

Al Qubaisi further commented: “DRIFTx opens up a world of potentials for entrepreneurs and local businesses to invest, collaborate, share knowledge, and discover the most recent systems, solutions, and technologies in the realm of smart and sustainable transportation. This will bolster the relentless endeavors of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to drive forward its status as a global hub for sustainable transport. The event also strengthens initiatives from both the government and private sectors to embrace smart, eco-friendly transportation and foster an innovative ecosystem.”

Across the two days, attendees will experience live demonstrations across air mobility, including: the Drone Champions League Big Drone and Wings Logistics demonstrated Hub intra city passenger taxi, and a short-range light cargo drone which performed flying demonstrations within the event space.

Space Falcon performed live demonstrations from its autonomous surveillance and monitoring drones that have a docking station solution. Across land mobility, A2Z demonstrated their remote-control system, while WeRide showcased their autonomous vehicles and Fugro demonstrated the Blue Shadow.

by Expo Events Consulting Expo Events Consulting

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