Robotics and Automation Are Driving Dubai's Economic Growth to the Future



Businesses from all sectors place large bets on robots and automation, setting aside billions of dollars to install these cutting-edge technologies to increase production and efficiency. Dubai is aiming to become a major global player in the robotics and automation industry and expects the sector's contribution to its gross domestic product (GDP) to increase to nine over the next ten years, with opportunities in the market expected to grow significantly over the coming decade.

Dubai is making a deliberate effort to create a world-class robotics ecosystem in the UAE in order to diversify its future economy and become a significant worldwide hub for robotics and automation technology. This covers a variety of government initiatives, including the launch of the Dubai Robotics and Automation Program, the Emirates Robotics Competition, and the inaugural Robo Day event.

“We seek to make Dubai one of the world’s top 10 cities in Robotics and Automation by adopting and developing advanced robotics technologies, empowering national talent, and generating innovative new solutions, products, and services,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation.

The Dubai R&A Program, which was established with the goal of understanding the vision to make Dubai a global hub for innovation in R&A applications, aims to accelerate the use of R&A in critical economic sectors, foster the creation of new economic opportunities, and enhance the quality of life.

The Dubai R&A Program, which is built on three pillars: government, support for R&D, and adoption and utilization of technologies, includes five strategic initiatives, such as the creation of a council for R&A and the introduction of a program for academic excellence, as well as the acceleration of research and development in five priority fields, including production and manufacturing, consumer services and tourism, connected mobility and logistics, extreme environments, and healthcare.

Dubai Future Labs

Dubai Future Labs conducts cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) applied research projects with the goal of becoming the main engine of Dubai's innovation ecosystem. This will secure Dubai's future readiness and have a global influence. The Dubai Future Labs serves as a consultant for the government by offering advice on technological issues that can prevent the adoption of cutting-edge technology in important areas through the use of its engineers and industry professionals.

Dubai Future Labs presented two unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) designed by the in-house talent for the logistics industry, including a last-mile delivery robot and an intralogistics vehicle, at the 2022 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), one of the largest and most influential robotics research conferences in the world.

The presence of Dubai Future Labs at IROS welcomes the robotics and research community to investigate joint venture and investment options provided by Dubai's distinctive innovation environment. This emphasizes Dubai's role in creating the best future, testing and developing technical applications, and empowering talent.

Building a Robotics Ecosystem in Dubai

With the assistance of Dubai Future Labs and Dtec, the Emirates also hosted its first-ever Roboday event at Dubai Silicon Oasis in an effort to establish a strong robotics and automation ecosystem in Dubai and bring together important players from all over the world.

Robosculptor, Micropolis Robotics, Peppermint Robotics, Jacky's Business Solutions, Drone Centre, and many other important figures from the robotics and automation industries participated in the event.

The high market potential exists. We intend to create a complete robotics ecosystem in Dubai Silicon Oasis that will include multinational corporations, startups, and students. They will be able to take part in specialized activities, generate fresh concepts, and overcome obstacles in this setting. This is our initial effort to develop Dubai's robotics ecosystem.

The organizers intend to convene a second Roboday in May 2023 in order to build on the discussions held at the first Roboday event and draw even more businesses into the ecosystem to help shape the future of the robotics ecosystem in the UAE.

Empowering Future Talents

Dubai Future Labs has also partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Khalifa University of Science and Technology to launch the Emirates Robotics Competition as part of its vision to establish the UAE's position as a global testbed for emerging technologies.

While ensuring that the next generation of talent is prepared with the skills necessary to succeed in the robotics and technology sectors, the competition aims to close the gap between present robotic capabilities and the requirements of potential applications.


Future technologies that promote digital transformation are essential to enabling all of us to be prepared for the future, encourage economic diversification, and address societal challenges. Robotics plays a significant role in that. In February 2023, we will proudly organize the inaugural Emirates Robotics Competition. We hope to build long-lasting relationships with academic institutions and business partners through this competition in order to advance automation, machine learning, and solutions for purposeful robotics.

According to the 2022 McKinsey Global Industrial Robotics Survey, automation is expected to account for 25 percent of industrial companies’ capital spending over the next five years, with the biggest spender set to be retail and consumer goods businesses, where over 23 percent of respondents confirmed they planned to spend more than $500 million over the period.

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