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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - VRCraftworks, a UK-based startup, was chosen by the RTA for its personalised solutions in wayfinding using augmented reality.
The smart apps you use to find your way around Dubai may just get smarter: Soon, you'll just have to point your mobile anywhere at a Metro, Bus or Tram station - then virtual arrows and paths to your destination will appear on your screen.
This new tech by UK-based start-up VRCraftworks will be piloted in the city as one of the two international projects that were selected in the Cohort 7 global start-up programme of Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), an initiative of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), in partnership with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The other innovation that will be trialled is the GACHA self-driving bus of the firm Sensible 4 from Finland.
VRCraftworks, a UK-based startup, was chosen by the RTA for its personalised solutions in wayfinding using augmented reality (AR).
Using a mobile device, this software solution allows people to easily navigate the Dubai Metro, Bus and Tram Stations. Integrated with the map of the stations, the software analyses the user's location and uses virtual paths and arrows to help them find their destination.
Jack Maddalena, sales director at VRCraftworks, said: "My experience with the DFA and RTA team and the programme was an ideal opportunity for me to meet the experts and practitioners from the field ... and make it especially useful to address the local need. What we bring to the RTA will not only change how people travel around Dubai but change how people think about transport. This partnership is a great way to showcase our solution on a grand scale."
Throughout the DFA initiative, VRCraftworks, along with the RTA, carried out site visits within Dubai's public transportation stations. It explored the set-up of these areas and identified how its wayfinding solutions and AR tech can be applied.
How the Cohort 7 programme went
During the Cohort 7 programme, startups worked side by side with the RTA to test innovations that could revolutionise the future of mobility and enable a more sustainable, automated and personalised travel experience within Dubai.
The programme included a series of challenges proposed by the RTA. It focused on finding tech solutions for wayfinding and smart monitoring systems - all to create a safe and seamless autonomous public transport for the city.
The companies were immersed in a nine-week accelerator programme, planned and organised by the DFA and RTA. They studied the current processes across the city and explored how their solutions can be localised to meet the RTA's requirements. They also participated in several expert-led workshops and webinars organised by the DFA and were introduced to relevant stakeholders from the team's ecosystem.
At the end of the programme, the companies presented their fully developed projects to the RTA's management, which greenlit the pilot phase of the two innovations in Dubai.
Saeed Al Falasi, executive director for Future Design and Acceleration at DFF, said: "We are pleased to be the enabler of what will be considered 'transformational pilot projects' in Dubai's mobility future. One of the imperatives for Dubai Future Accelerators is to offer meaningful opportunities for the startups around the world, to accelerate their innovative projects by working closely with leading government entities such as RTA, and I'm glad that we can live up to the promise."
Al Falasi called on all government entities in Dubai to participate in the upcoming cohort of the programme, put forth their challenges, work closely with tech startups and innovators that are part of the DFA's vast network to find innovative solutions.
Moaza Al Marri, executive director for the office of the director-general, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, and head of the steering committee of shaping the future at RTA, said: "Smart transportation is essential for Dubai's development; it acts as a lifeline for the smooth functioning of the city. Thanks to the DFA programme, and in working closely with our partner startups, the pilot projects will enhance the public transit experience and provide world-class services for all citizens, residents and tourists alike, through the use of advanced technologies."
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