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Unmanned RODEO Systems

Unmanned RODEO Systems

May 04, 2011

Sponsored By:


The first day of the UAE’s inaugural Unmanned Systems Rodeo (USR), organized by the Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA), took place on Wednesday the 4th of May at the CERT Technology Park in Abu Dhabi. The USR has been convened under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Chancellor Higher Colleges of Technology.

INEGMA has joined hands with the UAE’s largest higher education institution, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), leading international defense firm Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC), and Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investment (ADASI) to stage this groundbreaking science and technology outreach event. The inaugural USR features a competition for HCT students to design, build, test and pilot remote controlled unmanned aircraft. The 11 competing teams from 4 HCT colleges are judged on their presentation, and on the speed, performance and endurance of their respective unmanned aircrafts. The first and second place teams will receive an all expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. and Italy respectively. The eleven competing teams came from four colleges: Al Ain Men’s Campus: Team Seven Stars and Team Spirit of Al Ain; Abu Dhabi Men’s College: Team Take Care, Team Legend, Team Falcon and Team Tornado; Abu Dhabi Women’s College: Team SIGMA-6 and Team AD-ians; Dubai Men’s College: Team Snow Birds, Team Special Commands and Team Robotics. The first day, May 4, featured flying sessions from 9:00 to 16:00. After an introduction and instructions for Unmanned Systems Rodeo Challenge Flight Competition Operations to kick-start the event, team sorties took place in the Parking and Open Lot Area between 0830-1200 and resumed after the lunch break until 17:00. The awards ceremony will take place tomorrow at 11:00 with the presence of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan who will deliver the prizes and awards to the winning teams.

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Post-Event Synopsis

USR, the first event of its type in the region has been months in the making. Participating students have been applying their mathematical and scientific knowledge to a real world engineering project for the past three months. Immersed in the engineering process of designing, building and testing their unmanned aircrafts, their efforts have been assisted by engineers from HCT, NGC & ADASI and particularly NGC engineers who have travelled from the United States to give courses on Airplane Parts & Basic Aerodynamics. Between May 1-2, a team of six judges (Yaqoob Al Belooshi - ADASI Representative, Abdulla Mata - ADASI Representative, Associate Dean Dr. Nickolas Harkiolakis – HCT Representative, Doug Fronius - Northrop Grumman Senior Engineer, Rosemary Shearer - Northrop Grumman Senior Engineer, and Darryl Davidson - AUVSI Foundation Representative) visited various campuses where competing teams delivered presentations of their UAVs and their efforts to create their respective machines. The presentations are designed to offer judges an insight into the technical aspects of the UAVs and the way students have applied their scientific knowledge in their efforts. One of the prizes will be for the best presentation.

Thursday the 5th of May witnessed the awards ceremony for the prizewinners of yesterday’s inaugural Unmanned Systems Rodeo (USR). Major General (Ret.) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu Ainnain, Former Commander, UAE Air Force and Air Defense, and President, INEGMA, Wes Bush, CEO, Northrop Grumman (Supporting Sponsor of the USR), Major General (Ret.) John Brooks, President, Northrop Grumman International, Dr. Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor, Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Ali Al Yafei, CEO, Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investment (ADASI) , and Darryl Davidson, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) delivered the prizes and awards to the winning teams. The 1st placed team won an all expenses paid trip to the United States to participate in the AUVSI convention, and the runners up could look forward to an all expenses paid trip to Sweden to visit to manufacturing facilities of SAAB.

Keynote addresses were provided by Wes Bush, Dr. Tayeb Kamali, Major General (Ret.) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu Ainnain, Mr. Ali Al Yafei, and Major General (Ret.) John Brooks. In his opening words, Wes Bush, CEO and president of Northrop Grumman, told the audience that “Northrop Grumman is honored to sponsor this competition that fosters new types of innovation in the UAE.” He added, “*T+he Rodeo provides an opportunity to transfer knowledge and technology to the younger generation, which is an important element of the strategic vision established by UAE leadership. I’m confident that the enthusiasm we saw at this year’s Rodeo competition will inspire its expansion and will further encourage tomorrow’s generation of Emirati scientists and engineers to develop similar ground-breaking technologies for the future.” Speaking next, Major General (Ret.) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu Ainnain remarked that “*T+echnology defines the modernity of nations nowadays,” adding, “that is why the UAE leadership has been investing heavily in the transfer of technology with the objective of turning the country into a regional hub for technological industries.” He articulated that the transfer of know-how “is not enough without the presence of the skilled and educated manpower that will manage and develop the technology and put it to good use. Aerospace technologies are important in the growing age of space that the UAE has entered and aspires to play a good role in it in the future.” Commending the participating Emirati students for their efforts and application of scientific knowledge, he said he hoped these students were tomorrow’s generation of Emirati scientists, navigators and engineers. Major General (Ret.) Khaled said he was “proud and pleased to see our young men and women take part in this competition and display such talent and creativity.” Major General (Ret.) Khaled thanked H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Chancellor, Higher Colleges of Technology for his vital support to the success of this groundbreaking science and technology outreach event. He also thanked the Higher Colleges of Technologies for hosting the USR and to ADASI for coming on board as co-sponsors. Acknowledging Mr. Wes Bush, CEO, Northrop Grumman, who was attending the USR, Major General (Ret.) Khaled praised Northrop Grumman for its unlimited support as lead sponsor for the USR and also for sending engineers to provide training and advice to Emirati students for the competition. Mr. Ali Al Yafei, CEO, ADASI, opened his remarks by reiterating his support to the event, saying “ADASI is involved in supporting the UAE Governments’ activities across all three environments in autonomous technology. It is for this reason that we were delighted to join with the Higher College of Technology and Northrop Grumman Corporation to make this event a success.” Praising the support of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Mr. Al Yafei said, “As one of the UAE’s most enthusiastic supporters of autonomous systems technology, ADASI is always looking for ways in which we can develop autonomous systems within the UAE, and transfer technology and capabilities in this field to companies such as ADASI. This event has made a significant contribution to advancing the art and science of autonomous systems technology here in the UAE, and you, as participants, stand on the threshold of a fascinating career in this most important field of endeavor.” He concluded by congratulating the participants, particularly the winners, and told them he “looks forward to seeing you as active contributors to the autonomous systems industry in the near future.” Extending his appreciation to H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, for his patronage, support, to Dr Tayeb Kemali, Ali al Yafei, Riad Kahwaji, CEO, INEGMA, and Major General (Ret.) Khaled Al Bu Ainnain, Major General (Ret.) John Brooks offered “special thanks to Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman, who traveled 10,000 miles to help celebrate your ccomplishments.” Praising the efforts of participating students,

Major General (Ret.) John Brooks remarked that the USR “is not just about prizes... It is about all of the students being adventurous and exploring new things. It is about all of the students demonstrating commitment and hard work. It is about excellence—and there is so much of it here today.” Dr Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of HCT, said the Higher Colleges were very pleased with the close collaboration with Northrop Grumman, event organizer INEGMA and co-sponsor ADASI, which has resulted in the inaugural Unmanned Systems Rodeo. “We are sure that this contest will continue to grow and reflect the strong relationships between HCT, Northrop Grumman and our other partners in this venture,” Dr Kamali said. “It is an example of how the students, both male and female, are surrounded by technology and use hi-tech equipment in their projects and studies on a daily basis, enabling them to become familiar with the latest technologies and therefore highly skilled, sophisticated and work-ready graduates.” Dr. Kamali added that “*T+he HCT has a long tradition of providing the best possible educational and technology experiences for its students, and the Unmanned Systems Rodeo has been a perfect opportunity for HCT engineering and aeronautical students to learn new skills while being able to put into practice the knowledge they have obtained during their studies. “We thank Northrop Grumman for providing such wonderful prizes and support, as well as INEGMA and ADASI who have all helped to make this event such a success.”

The Prizewinners were as follows:

For 1st Place – Robotics Team - Dubai Men’s College: Mohammad Al Shamsi, Khalil Ibrahim, Salem Mohammad, Mohamed Jasem, Yaqoub Yousuf

For 2nd Place – Spirit of Al Ain - Al-Ain Men’s College: Mohammed Abdulla Nasser Saeed Nasser Al Maskari, Jasim Abdulla Salem Saeed Al Ameri, Salem Abdulnabi Ghulam Rasoul, Saqer Khalifa Ahmed Saeed Muhsen Al Houqani, Younes Mohammed Husain Ahmed Al Marzouqi, Yousef Jaber Mohammed Helal Al Kuwaiti

For 3rd Place – Seven Stars - Al-Ain Men’s College: Ahmed Mohammed Murad Hasan Murad Albaloushi, Ahmed Mubarak Mansour Mubarak Al Bu Saeed, Eisa Awad Mohammed Huwaiden Al Shamisi, Khalifa Abdulla Abdulkarim Al Rayes, Marwan Mohammed Saif Mohammed Al Nuaimi, Mohamed Saleh Ibrahim Ahmed Al Ali, Mohammed Matar Omair Mohammed Al Shamisi.

For Best Presentation – SIGMA-6 - Abu Dhabi Women’s College For Fastest UAV – Seven Stars - Al-Ain Men’s College For Best Endurance – Robotics Team - Dubai Men’s College USR is going to be an annual event organized by INEGMA.

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Media Center

USR Press Releases - Day One
Arabic Press Release 
English Press Release  

USR Press Releases - Day Two
Arabic Press Release   
English Press Release


USR Pre Event Press Releases
Arabic Press Release - February 21, 2011
English Press Release - February 21, 2011 



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USR in the News

USR accumulated wide regional media coverage, links to some coverage are provided below: 
Day 1 - Gulf News 
Day 1 - SDarabia 
Day 2 - Al Ittihad 
Day 2 - Al Bayan 
Day 2 - Gulf News 
Day 2 - The National
Day 2 - SDarabia 

USR Press Conference held on February 21, 2011, was accumulated wide regional media coverage, links to some coverage are provided below:
Gulf News 
Al Bayan 
Al Ittihad 
Al Khaleej
Nation Shield (Show Daily-Arabic)   
Nation Shield (Show Daily-English)  
Janes (Official Show Daily-Arabic)  
Janes (Official Show Daily-English) 


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