Dubai wants to show how AI will create a city of the future

Dubai sunset
Dubai sunset Copyright Reuters
By Rita Del Prete
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Emirates city plans to pioneer new technologies.


Dubai says that within ten years it will have become the world’s first smart city. Here’s its roadmap to get there.


Project Oyoon – Arabic for eyes - will launch in Dubai in by next year with tens of thousands of surveillance cameras using artificial intelligence to identify and track potential criminals.

The biggest change for most visitors could be something they don’t see – ID checks. Travelers departing from Dubai will walk through a tunnel that will scan their face or iris using dozens of cameras as they pass towards their gate.

The developing technology is scheduled to be installed by the end of next summer at Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, the home of Emirates, and rolled out in all terminals by 2020.

The tunnel is designed to relax and entertain passengers by displaying high-quality images of an aquarium, giving the experience of walking through the ocean, but the images also serve another purpose.

“It is a sort of entertainment and something new for the traveler but, at the end of the day, it attracts the vision of the travelers to different corners in the tunnel for the cameras to capture his or her face print” said Major Gen Obaid Al Hameeri, deputy director general of Dubai residency and foreign affairs.

“The virtual images are of very high quality and give the impression of a real-life aquarium.”

The tunnel display can also be altered to offer other natural settings, such as the desert, or even to display adverts.


Dubai also believes it can consign traffic jams, road rage and even red lights to history.

The city believes that a quarter of its transport can be autonomous by 2030. As buses, trucks and cars learn how to co-exist in the urban eco-system, Dubai thinks it will be able to accommodate five times more vehicles than today. The planned introduction of flying taxis will also reduce the burden on the roads.

Outside the city, construction is slated to begin on a Hyperloop in 2018. In theory, this could propel travelers in pods through a magnetic tunnel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes.


Advances in medical technology will soon allow the detection of diseases in people who believe they are completely healthy

Killer diseases as cancer, brain aneurysms and Alzheimer’s often are undetected before their symptoms become evident.

Dubai’s Health Authority, is embarking upon a “Human Genome project” to map the genetic code of the entire population and use Artificial Intelligence to analyse the results and identify likely diseases before they occur.


And another thing the city plans to do in the future is to look into the future. Next year should see the opening of a Museum of the Future which promises to offer a glimpse of life in 2035.

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