Dubai, UAE: Roads in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are on the fast-track for a smarter, safer and more sustainable future, as the region’s dedicated conference for autonomous, connected, and eco-friendly transportation got underway in Dubai today (7 November 2017).
The 3rd International Conference on Future Mobility (ICFM) takes place until 8th November at the Grand Hyatt Dubai, where more than 350 delegates, including government authorities, manufacturers, distributors, academics, industry experts, consultants, and solutions providers, steer the course towards a future of sustainable and intelligent mobility.
Held under the patronage of H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, and hosted by the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA), the two-day summit also features an exhibition of the latest electric, hybrid, and self-driving vehicles from Tesla, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Toyota, Lexus, Volvo, BMW, Cadillac, Kia, Renault and Mercedes-Benz.
H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, who opened the conference, said: “The reality and the economic future of the UAE, which is aimed at innovation and the employment of technology, began its first signs with the adoption of a new policy two years ago by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.
“The policy adopted by His Highness included 100 national initiatives in the sectors of education, health, energy, transport, space and water, with an estimated investment of 300 billion dirhams.”
The Minister of Economy confirmed that the UAE is constantly adopting initiatives that enable it to move towards a knowledge-based economy based on innovation in all its details.
He added: “The UAE Government is adopting innovation as a core part of our leadership vision, which plans to change the equations of the national economy, and push it away from reliance on oil for its resources, and more toward a knowledge-based and competitive economy.”
H.E Abdulla Al Maeeni, Director General of ESMA, delivered the inaugural keynote address: “The 3rd International Conference on Future Mobility is witnessing a year of great developments and reflects the convergence of ideas and international efforts to promote sustainability.
“The UAE national agenda within the vision of the UAE 2021 is to achieve a sustainable environment and integrated infrastructure in terms of air quality, conservation of resources, increased reliance on clean energy and green development.
“Our country aspires to become one of the world’s top infrastructure destinations for airports, ports and roads, in addition to enhancing the quality of service provisions to become a leader in smart services.
“We’re pleased to see the presentations of major manufacturing organisations, to hear the opinions of experts and industry leaders, to share knowledge and to learn about new types of smart products, from photovoltaic cells batteries and safety solutions, to vehicle communication mechanisms between vehicle and emergency systems, and much more,” added Al Maeeni.
Highlights of the opening day included details on the Green Mobility initiatives by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, developments on Fuel Cell Technology deployment in the UAE from Al Futtaim Automotive, and insights into BMW’s On-Demand Mobility Solutions. The forum also featured an exclusive keynote address by H.E. Dr. Abdulla Salem Al Katheeri, Director General of the UAE Federal Transport Authority for Land and Maritime.
Meanwhile on the exhibition floor, Lead Sponsor Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East displayed the region’s only connected S-Class, along with a C 350 e Plug-in Hybrid. Lennart Mueller-Teut, Head of Marketing and Communications at Mercedes Benz Cars Middle East, said the manufacturer has big plans for the future of e-mobility.
“Given the complexity of the emerging paradigm within the automotive industry, we’re now competing on multiple fronts,” said Mueller-Teut. “To align our strategic priorities, we’ve identified four main trends that will reinforce one another and drive change in our industry. These four pillars form the basis of our ‘CASE’ strategy for future mobility, which stand for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service and Electric Drive.
“Last year, we introduced a new brand for electric mobility – EQ, which stands for electric intelligence. We plan on having ten all-electric vehicles in our portfolio by 2022, and we’ll also offer at least one electrified drivetrain in each model series.”
Mueller-Teut said a fully autonomous era is plausible, adding: “We often say the question is not if but when autonomous driving becomes a reality. We’re laying the groundwork to create a supporting ecosystem and infrastructure that makes autonomous vehicles a seamless part of everyday life. This requires adequately preparing customers, drivers, regulators, and corporations for this future.
“That’s another reason we’re partaking in the 3rd International Conference on Future Mobility; it’s an opportunity to connect with and learn of industry-wide efforts and partnerships that draw on the expertise of various stakeholders, in both the public and private sectors.”
Diamond Sponsor BMW Middle East was also drawing in the crowds with its newly-introduced fleet of plug-in hybrid vehicles including the BMW 740Le iPerformance Luxury; the BMW BMW X5 xDrive40e, and the BMW i8 which arrived in Dubai in 2014. Also on show is the fully-electric BMW i3 which will be available in Dubai in 2018.
Osman Abdelmoneim, the General Manager of AGMC, BMW’s importer in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, said the Brand’s eco-friendly options are growing in popularity, adding that hybrid or electric cars offer more benefits than just having minimal environmental impact.
“BMW has long been a trailblazer when it comes to e-mobility. Its dedication to innovation and technology has resulted in some of the most impressively green and sustainably-led yet high-performance vehicles either already or soon to be on the market,” said Abdelmoneim.
“Globally, BMW Group sales of electric vehicles in the first three quarters of 2017 exceeded those achieved in the whole of 2016. The success of the BMW i3 on a global scale saw it become the best-selling electric vehicle in the segment last year, and we aim to launch it in the region in 2018.
“Hybrid cars can offer better resale value than their non-electric counterparts. And PHEV cars are simple to manage in the UAE - charging stations are becoming common place with Dubai incorporating greater numbers of both public and private charging stations.”
The 3rd ICFM’s Headline Sponsor is Al-Futtaim Automotive, while strategic partners include the UAE Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime; the UAE Telecommunication Regulatory Authority; the UAE Insurance Authority; the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; and the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE.
The two-day summit features an expert panel of more than 35 speakers, providing a critical platform where industry stakeholders can support each other in realising the formation of a smart, connected and sustainable future in the transport sector in the region. The exhibition held alongside the conference is open to general public to view, experience and test some of the latest offerings in sustainable and autonomous driving solutions.
More information about the 3rd International Conference on Future Mobility is available at: www.mobility-future.com