Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Incredible world record puts Dubai on the tech map

The emirate unveiled the world’s largest 3D printed building and imposed itself as an innovation hub

This week, yet another extraordinary feat of technology was unveiled in Dubai. It is a modest two-storey building, located in Warsan, which stands 9.5 metres tall and covers an area of 640 square metres. But this is no ordinary structure. It is in fact the world’s largest 3D-printed building – which has even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

This large-scale project has made use of 3D technology currently available and taken it to new heights. The walls of the Warsan building, for example, have all been printed directly from the 3D printer. Experts believe that the success of this project will revolutionise the construction sector. After all, the building only took a year to build, using half the usual number of construction workers and producing 60 per cent less waste.

Dubai, which has become synonymous with futuristic endeavours, is taking 3D technology one step further with Emaar Properties planning to build the emirate’s first 3D-printed home in Arabian Ranches Three. An exciting prospect, it is part of a wider plan to transform the UAE into a technology hub.

The Warsan building is not even Dubai’s first structure to be 3D-printed. Three years ago, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, opened a futuristic office for 3D printing technology outside Emirates Towers – a first worldwide.

The government has also devised UAE 2031, an long-term artificial intelligence strategy that aims to boost the nation’s AI capabilities. And this month, Abu Dhabi launched the world’s first AI university, the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence. Experts predict that by 2030 AI will make up 14 per cent of the UAE’s economy, by which time, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority estimates one in four trips across the emirate will involve driverless cars. This means that promoting new technologies and entrepreneurship is essential for the country to remain ahead of the curve. It will also be pivotal to the success of a knowledge-based economy in the UAE.

Whether we are talking about AI, driverless cars or 3D printing, these technologies are not part of a vague, distant future. They are already in use today and will have an increasingly important role in our daily lives in the decades to come. This is why it is so important for the UAE to continue to invest in these fields and keep nurturing home-grown talent, whether it is through the launch of research programmes at the country’s top universities or by empowering entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas.

The construction of a 3D-printed building in Warsan is only one part of that nationwide effort and it will indubitably help to put the UAE on the map as a tech hub for the Middle East.

Updated: October 24, 2019 06:13 PM

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