Al-Habtoor signs deal with Israeli technology firm

24 September 2020
The Dubai-based group has linked up with Mobilieye to provide driverless technologies in the UAE

Dubai-based Al-Habtoor Group (AHG) and Israel’s Mobileye have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to bring smart driving solutions to the UAE.

It is one of the first major collaborations between an Israeli technology leader and a UAE conglomerate since the UAE and Israel signed the Abraham Accords in Washington on 15 September.

The agreement was signed in Dubai by Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor, founding chairman of Al-Habtoor Group, and Professor Amnon Shashua, senior vice-president at Intel Corporation and president and CEO of Mobileye.

"I am thrilled to reveal this collaboration today with Professor Amnon Shashua," said Al-Habtoor.

"Together, we are bringing to the UAE the best of Israeli artificial intelligence. I am confident of the added value of this new technology to the comfort and safety of the drivers on the road.”

Shashua commented: “This historic collaboration between Mobileye and Al-Habtoor Group presents an opportunity to transform UAE cities by accelerating smart city development and advancing transportation services with cutting edge technology. The insights Mobileye mapping technology will unlock for Al-Habtoor, combined with future self-driving mobility solutions, together have the potential to greatly enhance the daily lives of citizens in the region.”

Driverless plans

Al-Habtoor and Mobileye's plan to advance smart city solutions and commercialise driverless mobility services in the UAE will contain four major steps:

  • Smart City Solutions: Beginning in early 2021, Al-Habtoor Group expects to equip vehicles with Mobileye 8 Connect, a collision avoidance system that collects valuable insights for safer driving, autonomous vehicle mapping and city planning.
  • AV Testing: Later in 2021, Mobileye-powered autonomous vehicles are expected to be deployed in Dubai to begin public-road testing, leveraging high definition maps created and insights gained from the Al-Habtoor fleets to prime the region for future driverless mobility solutions.
  • MaaS Testing: In 2022, Mobileye and Al-Habtoor are expected to start an early-rider programme to test its Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) offering. Mobileye will support Al-Habtoor Group with the infrastructure of back-office, tele-operation and mobility intelligence, as well as final validation to prepare for a commercialised service.
  • Driverless MaaS Launch and Scaling: Building on insights gained during the first three phases of the collaboration, the parties will seek to jointly launch and commercialise a Mobileye-powered driverless mobility service for UAE consumers in 2023.
Business meetings

Al-Habtoor has also held meetings with other Israeli business leaders. On 20 September, Khalaf al-Habtoor met with Shlomi Fogel, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Israel’s Ampa Group.

In a statement after that meeting, Al-Habtoor said: “I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time. I have always believed that Emiratis and Israelis have a lot in common. Both peoples are business-oriented and have relied on human talent and ambition more than their countries’ natural resources to build robust, innovative economies.

“The opportunities that this deal will present are great for both sides. I am confident this will open up new doors and lead to stronger economies, and closer cultural ties between the peoples,” he added.

Fogel commented: “Through successful business collaboration and trade, peace will be cemented. Together with our Emirati counterparts, we will show the way to live in peace to the rest of the world.”

Representative office

Al-Habtoor has also revealed his plans to open a representative office in Israel, a further confirmation of his belief in the prospects this new agreement presents.

“Since the announcement of the normalisation of relationships between the UAE and Israel, we have received a large number of inquiries for collaboration in several fields, ranging from AI and technology, to agriculture, hospitality and trading. The possibilities are endless for both sides in our diversified fields and new ones, and we want to be present to grasp them,” said Al-Habtoor.

Al-Habtoor has previously disclosed that the group had launched talks with Israir Airlines, a domestic Israeli carrier, to open direct commercial flights.

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