Khalifa University of Science and Technology and China’s CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., a global designer, manufacturer and maintenance provider of advanced passenger railway vehicles have signed a strategic cooperation memorandum to jointly plan and establish the China-UAE Rail Transit Technologies R&D Center in Abu Dhabi. Etihad Rail, developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway, will also be a key party in developing the center.
The Center would be the first in the Middle East region for CRRC Sifang, which already has four national R&D institutes in China. CRRC Sifang is one of the vital subsidiaries of CRRC and an industrialization hub for Chinese high speed trains.
The memorandum was signed by Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President, Khalifa University, and Dr. Jiangying LIANG, Vice President and Chief Engineer, CRRC Sifang in Abu Dhabi. His Excellency, Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education and Vice Chairman of Khalifa University’s Board of Trustees, and Shadi Malak, CEO, Etihad Rail, were present on the occasion.
The Center will focus on new technologies in rail transit industry, especially in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), big data and new composite materials for railway applications. Combining CRRC Sifang’s technology application experience and the scientific research capabilities of Khalifa University, the China-UAE Rail Transit Technologies R&D Center will carry out joint projects to significantly enhance the technological innovations for global and regional rail transit markets, while further strengthening the Sino-UAE technological cooperation.
Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi said: “The synergy resulting from this strategic cooperation memorandum with China’s CRRC Qingdao Sifang is intended to significantly benefit the rail transit sector. This partnership will most importantly strengthen the UAE’s plans to further develop the rail transport systems through Etihad Rail. Moreover, we believe our research track record in artificial intelligence and composite materials will enormously benefit the activities of Rail Transit Technologies R&D Center.”
Dr. Jiangying LIANG said: “We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Khalifa University to jointly plan and establish the China-UAE Rail Transit Technologies R&D Center in Abu Dhabi. Through this agreement we will also offer our rail transit technology expertise to Etihad Rail that will help strengthen the UAE-China relations. We believe this hub will also help us explore new areas for business expansion in the nearby regions.”
Shadi Malak said: “Combining the skill-sets of these two entities, both renowned experts in their respective fields, will enable Abu Dhabi and the UAE to become a leading hub for research into the application of new rail technologies. With Stage Two of the Etihad Rail network poised to launch, the China-UAE Rail Transit Technologies R&D Center in Abu Dhabi will be able to guide the future of innovation in the region’s rail transportation infrastructure, increasing efficiency and driving sustainability for the future.”
The China-UAE Rail Transit Technologies R&D Center will aim to build a hub specialized in the latest rail transit technologies and focus on utilizing competitive advantages of the partners’ technological resources. The partners will additionally explore the possibility of launching communication forums and training programs between China and the UAE, to cultivate local and international talents.
In addition, they will seek to establish a platform and hub for all joint collaborations within the field of China-UAE rail transit industries, including co-participation and pushing forward of research projects agreed by all parties.
The China-UAE Rail Transit Technologies R&D Center will have an Administrative Board that will include Dr. Jianying Liang, Vice President and Chief Engineer, CRRC, Dr. Steve Griffiths, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Khalifa University, and Didier Leperou, System Assurance, Etihad Rail.
The agreement also enables the establishment of a Working Group, affiliated to the Administrative Board. It will have Dr. Ernesto Damiani, Senior Director, KU Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems Institute, and Dr. Wesley Cantwell, Co-Director, KU Aerospace Research and Innovation Center, as well as Engr. Sébastien Mangeant, Head of System, Etihad Rail.
The CRRC representatives on the working group include Dr. Liu Shaoqing, Executive Vice-Director of National Engineering Research Center, Dr. Chen Dawei, Technologies & Development Department, National Engineering Research Center, and Dr. Li Peng, Director of International Cooperation Department, National Engineering Research Center.
15 January 2020