Dubai’s Emirates to establish experimental aviation lab

The area will host industry summits starting this year to identify and resolve key challenges facing the industry



Dubai airline Emirates has announced it will work with a consortium of partners to build the world’s first experimental aviation lab at the city’s Area 2071 start-up hub.

Aviation X-Lab will host airlines, manufacturers, ground logistics firms, regulators, engineers, academics and start-ups to develop “a new transportation paradigm”.

The area will host industry summits starting this year to outline key challenges facing the industry. It will then soliciting applications to help solve them from internal teams, independent engineering teams, academics and start-ups.

These will work with senior industry executives and regulators over a year to create new technologies, run experiments and develop prototypes.

Finalists selected for the programme will meet in Dubai each April for an event to pitch their concepts.

The winners will then relocate to Dubai along with corporate and government counterparts to begin a programme created by academic and innovation institutions.

“We look forward to the Aviation X-Lab initiative, which will enable Emirates to co-create high impact solutions with our industry partners that will propel the UAE’s aviation sector to new heights, and unlock the possibilities of an interconnected world,” said emirates chairman and CEO HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum

Area 2071 was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, earlier this year to become the experimental base of the UAE’s Centennial Plan 2071.

Read: Pictures: Dubai ruler launches Area 2071 start-up hub

Emirates is also participating in a similar programme this year as part of the Dubai Future Accelerators initiative. Under the project the airline is working with private sector partners to develop a self-driving ground fleet and utilise new technologies to train staff.

Read: Emirates seeks self-driving fleet, AI training through Dubai Future Accelerators

The carrier announced yesterday it was working with Australian visual technology company Seeing Machines to use advanced gaze tracking technology to better understand how pilots interact and monitor instruments during procedures.

Non-intrusive eye and head-tracking technology is being used to collect gaze data from a sample of Emirates line pilots as they fly standard training scenarios in flight simulators.

It is also reportedly experimenting with augmented reality and other technologies to improve customer service.

Read: Emirates seeks self-driving fleet, AI training through Dubai Future Accelerators