In November, 2006, the first Telematics system developed in the Arabian Gulf region, Falcon, was launched as part of a long-term collaboration between the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT) and IBM. This system relies on connectivity to certain satellites orbiting earth to provide the driver with a continuous flow of information on the geographical location and direction of the car and to warn the driver or control centre of any defects and possible driving risks. The system can monitor the condition of the load and report this information back to base.
In 2005 CERT signed the largest Telematics deal in history with IBM that led to the development of Telematics technology in the UAE.
“CERT Telematics amalgamates the IT and automotive industries. Our Telematics solutions have been developed with the objective of providing high quality fleet management capability, as well as safety and security,” says says Dr Tayeb A Kamali, CERT Vice Chairman, and Vice Chancellor of Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT).
Automotive Industries spoke to Dr Kamali.
AI: Would you describe CERT as a knowledge center or as an opportunity center? Why?
K: It is both – we have many opportunities to invest in and develop knowledge-based business, but the long term aim is that these businesses provide the basis for rapid growth in the UAE knowledge economy.
AI: How do you expect CERT’s telematic venture to help the automotive sector?
K: The Falcon solution is one of the most advanced, most flexible and most upgradeable Telematics solutions in the world. When combined with the appropriate software it is not just a Telematics solution, but a real end-to-end business improvement solution. Once widely deployed, we expect Falcon to change the landscape of automotive Telematics in business. Falcon is essentially an onboard computer with all of the power that implies. The hardware can be reconfigured using wireless software downloads, ensuring a long and flexible life span.
AI: What other kind of automotive industry-related R&D is CERT and its partners doing?
K: Allied to Telematics, we are developing software to enable real time deployment and scheduling of product and service delivery. This will take onto account aspects such as road and traffic conditions as well as the condition of the product itself. Our initial target is the readymix concrete industry. CERT’s RFID company Cathexis Middle East, provides a dynamic way to keep track of assets and inventory. This technology correlates well with Falcon as it allows for the management of cargo as well as the vehicle in which the cargo rides. Our supercomputing capability allows us to work in computational fluid dynamics as well as crash simulation using finite element analysis.
AI: Do you see your country emerging as an important player in the development of new technologies for the automotive sector?
K: We are interested in all leading edge technologies and some of these will inevitably impact the automotive sector. In the UAE, there is great interest in motor sport and automobiles. This is as an ideal environment for automotive developments and we will pursue further initiatives where we feel it is most appropriate.
AI: What collaborations can we expect this year from CERT?
K: We have just launched a major initiative with Microsoft to establish a software innovation and design centre. Microsoft has accepted Cathexis Middle East into its exclusive “Jump Start” program. CERT is currently negotiating a deal with IBM that will see IBM patents in nanotechnology made available to CERT for application in desalination and alternative energy. The legacy of this initiative will be a leading Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence established in Abu Dhabi.