Microsoft AI tracks containers in Abu Dhabi

  • June 14, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Microsoft is helping Abu Dhabi Terminals deploy AI-based container smart tracking to trace all handled containers and launch an autonomous vehicle system for port shuttle carriers.

The agreement heralds the next phase in the digital transformation of Abu Dhabi’s flagship maritime asset, Khalifa Port. It will enable enhanced container tracking and autonomous shuttle capabilities across the Khalifa Port terminal through the deployment of artificial intelligence services using Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Abu Dhabi Terminals is the management company and operator of the Khalifa Port Container Terminal (KPCT), the region’s first and the world’s largest semi-automated deep-water container terminal. KPCT is one of the most technically advanced facilities of its kind.

The technology, deployed in partnership with Microsoft Consulting Services, will fuel the introduction of AI-based container smart tracking that will ensure 100 per cent traceability of all handled containers, as well as the launch of an autonomous vehicle system for port shuttle carriers.

“With its ongoing commitment to the adoption of new technologies, the UAE is reimagining the world of global shipping and logistics to ensure it is robust, resilient and future-ready,” said Ralph Haupter, president of Microsoft in Emea. “This collaboration ushers in a new era for autonomous vehicles in a terminal environment, and I’m excited to see Microsoft’s cloud, artificial intelligence and internet of things technologies contribute to its success. I applaud the UAE’s bold and ambitious investments in digital infrastructure and technology, which is creating an excellent launchpad for this new, autonomous generation of vehicles. The local Microsoft Cloud regions are ready to provide all of the computing power necessary to handle the complex data processing required and also scale these new technologies.”

Ahmed Al Mutawa, CEO of Abu Dhabi Terminals, added: “By driving innovation through the implementation of artificial intelligence and automation, Abu Dhabi Terminals is committed to modernising our port environment, while also dramatically reducing our carbon footprint, and costs, as well as turnaround times for those accessing Khalifa Port.”

He said he was confident that improving operational efficiencies would encourage economic growth and bolster business continuity, while also providing UAE nationals with opportunities to pursue careers in artificial intelligence.

“The support of the UAE Ministry of AI and our partnerships with world-leading technology providers such as Microsoft, not only future proofs our nation’s maritime assets and infrastructure, but enables Abu Dhabi Terminals, and our shareholders at Abu Dhabi Ports, to reap tremendous long-term benefits as we continue this exciting digital transformation journey,” he said.

Arturo Garcia, chief automation officer at Abu Dhabi Terminals, said: “Abu Dhabi Terminals has constantly worked to improve operational efficiency in a manner not controlled by industry norms and conventions thanks to our firm commitment towards introducing and developing ground-breaking top-tier technologies. AI and automation technology are not widely used in the port industry, but we firmly believe in its potential and are convinced that our approach will not only benefit Abu Dhabi Terminals and the UAE, but will extend to the entire shipping industry, transforming the way business is done.”