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Meet Wabel, UAE’s robo-fireman

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FFBOTS, the Jebel Ali Industrial Area-based Emirati firm, has launched the first locally-made firefighting robot of its kind in the Middle East, with world-class technical specifications and operational capabilities.

Called Wabel, which means rain, the robot provides a qualitative addition to firefighting departments and their efforts to reach critical but difficult areas or when it comes to dangerous physically-demanding tasks that may compromise their safety.

The development comes less than two weeks after a Emirati fighter died in a post-fire tragic incident in Al Aweer, Dubai. Sgt Omar Khalifa Al Ketbi, 29, from Dubai Civil Defence, lost his life in the line of duty when a slab fell on him during cooling down operations after a fire broke out at the Al Kabayel Discount Centre.

In 2016, Jasim Al Beloushi died while responding to a situation at the Dubai International Airport following the emergency landing of Emirates Airline flight EK521. Al Beloushi and his colleagues saved all passengers but had to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

“Since its inception, the company has sought to locally manufacture, design and assemble robotics technologies, with a focus on attracting local and international competencies and expertise, inspired by its vision and the passion of the founding-team,” said Mohammed Islam, a robotics expert and CEO of FFBOTS.

“The start has been made from the UAE with a joint Emirati-Saudi investment. We intend to go global, while leveraging artificial intelligence to a maximum … this is especially the case in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, where giant projects and factories, free zones, warehouses, tall residential towers and other sensitive areas are spread,” he added.

Mohammed Islam indicated that the robot complements rather than annuls the role of civil defence, by providing a qualitative addition to its efforts in fighting fires and preserving lives and property, especially when fires involve high-risk situations, such as proximity to oil and gas reservoirs and highly flammable materials that cannot be approached.

Technical Specifications

  • Wabel has multiple high-calibre features. Pending the arrival of civil defence personnel, it helps controllers, especially in critical places, to immediately use it remotely and start firefighting operations, benefitting from a powerful flow rate of 8,000 LPM, a range of 100 meters, and a height of 50 meters.
  • The robot is controlled wirelessly by a control station with a response range of up to 1,000 meters.
  • It is equipped with 4-hose-inlets and a GPS build routing and maps for robot location and facilitations of navigation.
  • The robot uses foam and water with a flow rate of 8,000 LPM. It is equipped with six smart cameras covering four directions, making it the firefighter’s eye from the heart of the event.
  • The robot is also equipped with front-end water sprinklers to cool the surface in front of the robot and vertical water sprinklers to create a water umbrella to cool the robot from above.
  • Wabel can climb stairs up to 30 degrees, and weights about a ton. It is provided with strong front bumpers.
  • The robot is also equipped with a dedicated camera for extinguisher target direction and a back camera to facilitate movement, in addition to an inbound audio channel to enable the controller to hear sounds around the robot;
  • It has 15 temperature-sensing points. The robot’s powerful headlights enable control officers to see clearly during heavy smoke. An audible siren helps locate the robot, while also alerting others in smoky or low-visibility areas and warning residents of a fire.

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SkyPower and ZETDC Sign landmark power purchase agreements for Zimbabwe’s largest solar project

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In a historic event at the World Future Energy Summit, SkyPower and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) have signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), marking a significant milestone in the development of the largest solar project in the history of Zimbabwe. The agreements pave the way for the commencement of the Green Giant project, set to deliver 500 MW of solar power, capable of energizing approximately 2 million households.

As previously stated by His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe: “My presidential commitment is to enhance our energy sustainability through renewable energy by collaborating with world-class companies like SkyPower. Today’s signing is a landmark achievement for our nation, setting a robust foundation for our sustainable future.”

The signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi was witnessed by eminent personalities including the Honorable Edgar Moyo, Minister of Energy of Zimbabwe, Lovemore Mazemo, Ambassador of Zimbabwe to the UAE, Eng. Abel Gurupira, Managing Director of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, Mr. Mazambani Edington Tapera, Chairman of ZERA.

“This is a momentous day for Zimbabwe, demonstrating our commitment to transforming our energy sector and ensuring reliable power for our people”, stated by Eng. Abel Gurupira, Managing Director of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company. Kerry Adler, President & CEO of SkyPower, highlighted the project’s importance, “We are proud to kick off the initial phases of the Green Giant project at this prestigious summit. This partnership exemplifies our dedication to promoting sustainable energy development globally.

Upon completion, this project will stand as a testament to Zimbabwe’s commitment to renewable energy and economic growth.”

“The significance of today’s event cannot be overstated. As we align our efforts with global energy transitions, this project underlines our strategy to integrate renewable energy into our national energy mix significantly,” remarked the Honorable Edgar Moyo.

This accomplishment highlights the country’s favorable environment and underscores the exceptional teamwork and dedicated efforts from both parties.

This initiative is expected to boost Zimbabwe’s economy significantly by creating thousands of jobs and fostering infrastructure development. It is aligned with global efforts towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and enhancing the quality of life for millions of Zimbabweans.

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Dxb airport issues travel advisory, Emirates suspends travel procedures until midnight

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Dubai International (DXB) is advising passengers not to come to the airport, unless absolutely necessary due to the unprecedented weather conditions in the country.In a statement, Dubai Airports said that flights continue to be delayed and diverted. Passengers are advised to contact their respective airlines for the latest information on flight status.

Dubai Airports assures passengers that they are working hard to recover operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions.

On the same note, Emirates Airlines has decided to suspend travel procedures for passengers departing from Dubai starting from 8:00 am on Wednesday, 17th April, until midnight on 18th April, due to operational challenges resulting from adverse weather conditions and road conditions.Emirates Airlines added that procedures for passengers arriving in Dubai and transit passengers will continue.

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UAE receives record-breaking rains, highest in 75 years

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The UAE received the heaviest rainfall on record on Tuesday over a 24 hour period.According to WAM, it surpassed all records documented since the start of data collection in 1949.

The downpour impacted numerous regions across the country.The National Centre of Meteorology confirmed that the record rainfall that fell on the country during the 24 hours until 9 pm on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, is an exceptional event in the UAE’s climate history since the start of recording climate data.The centre said that, so far, the highest rainfall was recorded in the “Khatm Al Shakla” area in Al Ain, reaching 254 mm in less than 24 hrs.

It is noteworthy that the NCM’s Shuwaib station had recorded 287.6 mm on March 9th 2016.

This heavy rainfall is an exceptional event in the UAE that contributes to increasing the annual rainfall average in the UAE, as well as strengthening the country’s groundwater reserves in general.

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