Practical Lessons and Opportunities from Testing Autonomous Mobility at KAUST

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KAUST is a living lab for future mobility and transportation innovations such as autonomous driving. The roads, the progressive community, and the traffic regulations make KAUST a great place to examine and assess various mobility options in collaboration with industry partners, government agencies, and startups. KAUST launched the first autonomous shuttles pilot in Saudi Arabia in December 2019. The pilot is a platform to develop unique smart city experiences that enable the scientific community, the residents of KAUST, our partners, and entrepreneurs to create an innovative ecosystem around autonomous mobility. Throughout the past sixteen months, we have learned good lessons on what it takes to have autonomous vehicles run safety on the roads of a small city. Our technology partners have also gained insights on the challenges of deploying autonomous vehicles in Saudi Arabia. Many of these challenges represent opportunities for innovations, collaboration, and for a new ecosystem to develop, evolve, and grow.

Brief Biography

Mohamed Abdel-Aal is a founding member of King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) where he joined the institution during its construction phase in 2008. He is responsible for managing the Digital Experience and Innovation & the “KAUST Smart” program with a primary focus on leveraging technologies, processes, and people to create a "smart" digital experience across the university and city of KAUST. Mohamed had previously managed the University’s IT infrastructure and research computing including systems, servers, storage, data center facilities, HPC clusters, and an extensive network that spans the sprawling community and housing facilities. Mohamed oversees strategic digital transformation plans and initiatives including partnerships and collaborations with leading industry players to utilize KAUST’s unique setting as a launch pad and a living lab for pilots and creative concepts. Mohamed holds an MBA and a MS degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and a BS degree from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM).

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