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Student-designed Robot Wows at MBZIRC Exhibition, Wins Emirates Award 2020

June 6, 2021

A robot designed to inspect storage tanks for the oil and gas industry was a hit at the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) Exhibition and was recognized as the winner of the Best Innovative University Project of the Emirates Award 2020. 


Team PetroPremium, composed of Petroleum Engineering students Alanood Alburaiki, Anoud Alshukaili, and Mariam Alkatheeri, developed a robot with sensors and a webcam to scan oil storage tanks. The robot scans the tanks using spiral movements, analyzes the data, and then identifies corrosion spots in the tanks, helping ensure the safety and structural integrity of the tanks. 


“The idea came while we were discussing with Dr. Waleed Alameri (Assistant Professor of Petroleum Engineering) about MBZIRC 2020. He believed in us and his support, along with Dr. Hamad Karki, (Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering) who helped us reach this great achievement, which is winning the Emirates Award under the Best Innovative Student Project,” Anoud commented. 


“As the demand for oil and gas is increasing, resources are diminishing. The oil and gas industry is looking for more advanced technologies to increase productivity in a cost-effective manner. Therefore, our role as petroleum engineers is to innovate and help in developing the oil and gas sector in achieving our country’s vision. Robotics has the potential to positively impact the oil and gas industry. We’re planning to keep working on this project and implementing new technologies that will increase its efficiency,” Alanood said. 



“Through our participation in the MBZIRC, we have seen that the United Arab Emirates, under its wise leadership, has always supported vital projects that will help the country achieve its goals. We also received a great morale boost after we met His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who praised our role as Emirati students in advancing scientific progress and expanding the perceptions of creativity and innovation. He also praised us as an example to follow and encouraged us to continue working on scientific investment,” she said. 


“It is also not surprising that we have received the full support of the Khalifa University administration and the educational staff. The University provides their students with innovative courses, competitions, and most importantly, access to their laboratories where students can work on their projects,” remarked Alanood. 


Dr. Waleed also commented: “Thank you Anoud, Alanood, and Mariam for such an excellent achievement. We are always here to help, serve and support our students at Khalifa University and I’m sure that this is not the end. We will develop the idea of the designed robot and one day will apply it in real projects.” 


“The Petroleum Engineering Department at Khalifa University was the main reason for us to continue with the project. This achievement is also directed to our beloved country and our families as well. We as graduate students are proud to reach this level of achievement during this pandemic. This is proof that nothing is impossible nowadays and we can turn what is impossible to possible by our determination and persistence,” Anoud added. 


Ara Maj Cruz
Creative Writer
6 June 2021