Middle East


Yemeni Houthis claim drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Yemen's Houthi movement launched drone attacks on oil facilities in a remote area of Saudi Arabia, the group's Al Masirah TV said Saturday, but there was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities or state oil giant Aramco. A Saudi-led coalition is battling the Iran-aligned Houthis to try to restore Yemen's government, which was ousted from power in the capital, Sanaa, by the group in late 2014. The war has been in military stalemate for years. The Houthis have stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months. "Ten drones targeted Aramco's Shaybah oilfield and refinery in the first Operation: Balance of Deterrence in the east of the kingdom," the Al Masirah channel reported, citing a Houthi military spokesman.


The Amazing Ways Dubai Airport Uses Artificial Intelligence

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As one of the world's busiest airports, (ranked No. 3 in 2018 according to Airports Council International's world traffic report), Dubai International Airport is also a leader in using artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) leads the Arab world with its adoption of artificial intelligence in other sectors and areas of life and has a government that prioritizes artificial intelligence including an AI strategy and Ministry of Artificial Intelligence with a mandate to invest in technologies and AI tools. The Emirates Ministry of the Interior said that by 2020, immigration officers would no longer be needed in the UAE. They will be replaced by artificial intelligence. The plan is to have people just walk through an AI-powered security system to be scanned without taking off shoes or belts or emptying pockets.


Chinese robovan startup aims to go from theme parks to city streets

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One of China's newest autonomous vehicle makers, Neolix, recently put self-driving microvans into action as it looks to scale up its solution to the country's logistics puzzle made more complex by a surge in online shopping. The Beijing-based startup, barely a year old, has already deployed the vehicles in the capital and other cities, but it faces stiff competition from a crowded field where other players, especially e-commerce groups, are racing to develop similar robovans. "Operating 10,000 units will be an industry milestone and it is crucial [for us] to achieve it," said Yu Enyuan, 45, Neolix's founder and chief executive. Neolix's ambition is to replace the roughly 40 million vehicles providing so-called last-mile logistics in China, a market projected to be 3 trillion yuan ($428 billion). These home deliveries are now handled mainly by two- and three-wheel electric motorbikes, zigzagging through neighborhoods to carry everything from milk tea to mattresses.


Russia's space agency releases eerie footage of human-like android Fedor

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Russia's space agency has released eerie footage of its human-like android which will board the International Space Station next week. Nicknamed Fedor - which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Research - the anthropomorphous machine was seen undergoing a battery of stress-tests at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Dubbed Putin's robo-naut, the machine can be seen determining targets and honing in on specific points, such as steering wheels, which will surely come in handy while they're in orbit. The scenes come ahead of its inclusion on the unmanned Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft on 22 August 2019. 'MMA fighter' loses temper and battles two revellers at once In action: Dubbed Putin's robo-naut, the machine can be seen determining targets and honing in on specific points, such as steering wheels, which will surely come in handy while they're in orbit On time: Putin's deputy premier, Dmitry Rogozin, claimed the war in Syria had shown Russia the importance of robots in difficult environments, and promised Fedor would make its space debut in five years - a deadline it will soon meet Fedor stands 6-foot tall, weighs no less than 233 pounds depending on extra equipment, and can lift up to 44 pounds of cargo.


China's Neolix to trial autonomous vehicles in Saudi, UAE - Reuters

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DUBAI (Reuters) - China's Neolix has signed a preliminary agreement with Middle East e-commerce company noon to trial autonomous vehicles in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Neolix will build driverless vehicles customised to the region's weather conditions, where temperatures can soar above 50 degrees Celsius in the summer, noon said in a statement on Tuesday. Noon, a joint venture between Saudi Arabia's sovereign Public Investment Fund and Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar, will focus on'last mile delivery' of the vehicles in select areas of Abu Dhabi and Dubai over the next few weeks, the company added. It did not give trial dates for Saudi Arabia. Neolix and noon signed the agreement during the state visit of Emirati crown prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan to China.


Israeli researchers create brain-inspired AI algorithm - HEALTH & SCIENCE - Jerusalem Post

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Researchers at Bar-Ilan University have said they have created a new type of ultra-fast artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm based on the dynamics of the human brain. According to a report published Friday in Scientific Reports, the algorithm demonstrates that, despite the human brain computing at a much slower rate than modern computers, it is extremely fast and efficient. As such, the scientists say, "Insights of fundamental principles of our brain have to be once again at the center of future artificial intelligence."


Singapore-based AI company TAIGER extends global reach with new offices in Dubai and Hong Kon

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Artificial Intelligence company, TAIGER, announces today the opening of two new offices in Dubai and Hong Kong. Following successes in Singapore, this move is a strategic step to offer organizations information processing and knowledge representation AI to improve and optimize whole of organization work processes globally. TAIGER's AI solutions applies advanced semantic and human-reasoning, along with machine learning and natural language processing to deliver an unrivalled accuracy of 90% and above in 3 key enterprise work processes – information extraction, virtual assistance and enterprise search. These cities were chosen after successful operations in finance, government, legal, hospitality and healthcare industries and expansion with a specialized team in consultative sales and technical support will allow for higher focus and closer relationships with existing and potential clients and partners. Positioned as one of the fastest growing start-ups in Singapore, this expansion follows TAIGER's largest funding round with a Series B totaling USD 25 Million.


Israeli army in no rush to go fully robotic, puts sealed tanks through their paces

The Japan Times

ELYAKIM ARMY BASE, ISRAEL – Israel, a world leader in hi-tech, is around 30 years away from its ambition of deploying robot forces, and for now will chose between three prototypes of semi-automated armored vehicles to cocoon its troops in battle, defense officials said on Sunday. Israel has long eyed a future robot army as a means of reducing the use of soldiers on its combustible fronts with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, just as its air force has increasingly relied on pilot-less drones. The country draws most of its military personnel from teenage conscripts. An unveiling of Israel's newly developed operating suites for ground fighting vehicles made clear it plans to keep soldiers at the controls, albeit entirely insulated from the outside: Hatches battened, the cabins will have smart-screens, fed by outside cameras and sensors, instead of windows or ports. "Now the people will be sitting in the tank, it's closed, they are far better protected, and they can advance without worrying about snipers or other things," said Brig.


Magazine says Trump invited Iranian foreign minister to White House

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the White House last month at the height of tensions between the two countries, The New Yorker magazine reported. The invitation, extended by Sen. Rand Paul with permission from the president, was turned down for now, The New Yorker reported Friday. Zarif said it was up to Tehran to decide on accepting it. Neither the White House nor the State Department responded to requests for comment on the report, which quoted U.S. and Iranian sources and what the magazine called a well-placed diplomat. Zarif told the magazine he would not want a White House meeting that yielded just a photo op and a two page statement afterwards, The New Yorker said.


Anagog wins X5 Retail-Tech Challenge

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Israeli retail analytics insight company Anagog has won the X5 Retail-Tech Challenge competition for retail innovation. The competition was held this week in Tel Aviv by the Israel-Russia Chamber of Commerce, for the X5 retail group, Russia's largest retail chain. Anagog's management are traveling to Moscow to make a pitch to the retail chain's senior executives for a major contract from the chain. Evigence Sensors finished second in the competition and Varcode and Tarritech tied for third place. Anagog was founded in 2010 by Gil Levy and Yaron Aizenbud.