Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and inaugurated by His Highness Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the sixth and largest edition of the UMEX and SimTEX exhibitions has concluded.

Organised by ADNEC Group and the Ministry of Defence, with EDGE Group as a strategic partner, UMEX and SimTEX took place from January 23-25 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). As the largest UMEX and SimTEX to date since the launch of the event in 2015, the exhibitions achieved record numbers. A total of 27,356 visitors attended the exhibitions, representing a 97 per cent increase compared to the previous edition. The successes extended beyond attendance with a significant 45 per cent increase in deals agreed upon, totalling an overall value of more than AED2.9bn compared to AED2bn in 2022.

The exhibitions also included the participation and attendance from decision-makers, officials, industry leaders, and official delegations representing countries from around the world. The exhibitions showcased the latest developments and innovative technologies in the unmanned systems sector, as well as the future potential of unmanned systems across the defence, civil, humanitarian and commercial fields.  

Major General Dr Mubarak Saeed Ghafan Al Jabri, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee for UMEX and SimTEX 2024 and the accompanying conference, said: “The UMEX and SimTEX 2024 exhibitions provided a unique platform for all the international and local companies present to showcase the latest innovations and specialised technologies across the unmanned systems, simulation, training, robotics and artificial intelligence sectors.

“Over the course of three days, the record volumes of deals signed and visitors welcomed reflected the increasing importance that these industries play in maintaining international peace and security. The vital role that unmanned systems and associated technologies played in supporting business growth and the development of civil applications within national economies was also highlighted.

“The Supreme Committee organising these two exhibitions along with ADNEC Group were keen to ensure the success of these vital events and to host them in a manner befitting the reputation and standing of the UAE worldwide. This success would not have been achieved without the generous and unlimited support of our wise leadership.

“I wish to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to all our partners in the government and private sectors, and also to all the subcommittees and national institutions that contributed to the successful outcomes of the two exhibitions.”

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNEC Group, said: “Over the past three days, Abu Dhabi, the UAE Capital has welcomed major specialised international companies, experts and decision-makers from the five continents of the world under the umbrella of the UMEX and SimTEX 2024 exhibitions to shape the future advancement of unmanned systems, simulation, training, robotics and artificial intelligence.

“The sixth session of the two exhibitions recorded the best results in its history, with the number of visitors increasing by 97 per cent compared to the event's previous session to reach more than 27,356 visitors, and the value of deals announced during its activities increased by 47 per cent to exceed 2,932 billion dirhams. These results demonstrate the global standing that the two exhibitions have achieved and their international importance in leading the development of these vital sectors.

“I am confident that ADNEC Group's work teams will sustain their efforts in cooperation with our partners in the government and private sectors, led by the Ministry of Defence, to maintain the competitiveness of these exhibitions and build on their achievements to enhance their global standing even further. This commitment reflects our determination to support with wise leadership's aspirations to support these vital sectors and harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to secure sustainable growth rates for the next fifty years.”

The 2024 edition of UMEX and SimTEX included the launch of five new features: the MoD Coding Competition, UMEX Commercial, live demonstrations taking place at the ADNEC Grandstand and Water Canal, UMEX Talks, and the UMEX Next_Gen innovation competition. This year at the UAE pavilion, the largest at exhibitions covering over 5,200 square metres, Emirati companies competed well against international counterparts. EDGE Group, the partner for UMEX and SimTEX, was involved at this year's event with three product launches, including the M-BUGGY, a self-driving, wheeled ground vehicle for multiple geographical uses that was also part of the live demonstrations for land systems at the ADNEC Grandstand Area.

The inaugural MoD Coding Competition was held over the three days of the exhibition through a successful collaboration between the organisers of UMEX and SimTEX, the ADNEC Group and the Ministry of Defence. This competition saw the participation of 178 male and female Emirati programmers who competed in an enjoyable coding challenge comprising two distinct tracks that enabled all participants with interact with specialists and experts in the field to gain valuable knowledge and experience. The winners of track one received valuable prizes, while the second track took on the challenge of the Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS) Programming Challenge designed to assess participants’ efficiency through multiple challenges in software development, device design, and operational planning for drones. Salwa Omar Abdullah Albaraki took first place in Track 2, followed by Khadijah Rashed Mohammad Alsaradi and Issa Hamad Salem. 

For the first time, live demonstrations of unmanned aircraft, drones, ground vehicles, marine systems and robotics were showcased by leading national and international companies and manufacturers at ADNEC Grandstand and Water Canal alongside traditional aerial displays at Tilal Sweihan. UMEX and SimTEX demonstrated demanding scenarios for unmanned systems by transforming ADNEC’s Grandstand area to simulate a dynamic real-world environment.

More than 20 innovative startups from seven countries took part in UMEX NEXT_GEN 2024, bringing their cutting-edge solutions to market, some for the very first time. AR Engineering, a UAE software development company that specialises in advanced augmented reality solutions and creating advanced digital twins, was chosen as the leading startup and the inaugural winner of the UMEX Next_Gen Pitch competition. Through digital twin solutions, AR Engineering is able to create a digital model of a physical product or system that serves as an effectively indistinguishable digital counterpart, with applications in simulation, integration, testing, monitoring, and maintenance.

UMEX Talks focussed on smart city infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and risk, and advanced AI in autonomous systems. Giulio Segurini, CEO, Partner at STRADAai, discussed ‘The journey to Smart Cities’ with a focus on the potential of harnessing artificial intelligence to provide a safe environment for the operation of autonomous systems. STRADAai is developing innovative technologies that will change the way drone aerospace is managed through unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems that trace drones using electronic tags. This system could become a major enabler of the future management of unmanned vehicles with immense business opportunities for key stakeholders.

Dr Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar, Chief Research Officer, Secure Systems Research Centre at the Technology Innovation Institute, gave a presentation on ‘Evaluating risks: safety and security for autonomous vehicles in diverse conditions’, which examined how future connected smart cities will be managed by autonomous systems. Given the growing need to enhance the flexibility and efficiency of these systems, it was necessary to address the risk and safety aspects of managing unmanned systems in diverse conditions.

In the final session of UMEX Talks, a presentation by Dr Abrar Abdulnadi, Head of Artificial Intelligence at Saal.ai, entitled ‘Advanced AI and autonomous systems’ covered the key advantages of Autonomous SI-powered Systems; namely their ability to deliver ongoing analysis to inform the decision making, learning and adaptability that improves performance and task execution without oversight.

For more highlights about UMEX and SimTEX 2024, visit https://umexabudhabi.ae/