DFL signs agreements with Emirates Airline, DP World, and dnata

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation, witnessed the signing of three partnership agreements between Dubai Future Labs (DFL), an initiative of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), and Emirates Airline, DP World and dnata. The trio of agreements aims to introduce cutting-edge future technologies in aviation and logistics, two vital non-oil sectors in Dubai and the UAE.

These national partnerships aim to boost the Dubai Robotics and Automation Programme, which was launched in September last year to encourage the development, testing and deployment of robotics and automation (R&A) and accelerate their adoption in key sectors of the economy. The programme aims to promote research and development (R&D) in five key sector areas – manufacturing and production; consumer services and tourism; healthcare and connected mobility; and logistics.


Dubai Future Labs’ memorandum of understanding with DP World includes several phases and projects. The main project to be implemented under the MoU aims to develop intelligent, autonomous electric vehicles (E-CAV) for terminal operations, which can serve as a more sustainable, reliable, efficient and safer alternative. The MoU also aims to advance R&D on purpose-built systems and their commercialisation to improve the safety and efficiency of DP World’s global operations, in addition to supporting the group’s carbon reduction and sustainability objectives.

According to the MoU, Dubai Future Labs will promote research, testing and deployment of new technologies for logistics operations, and develop future technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, data analytics and blockchain. Solutions planned for development include automated and intelligent systems for transport, handling and storage of goods in port operations.

Under a memorandum of understanding with Emirates Airline, Dubai Future Labs will contribute to various innovative pilot projects, including a robotic check-in agent that uses facial recognition and interacts with passengers, and a robotic waiter serving in airport lounges.

Emirates is also redoubling efforts to upgrade its warehouse management system by introducing automated solutions. Working with DFL on R&D and R&A projects, Emirates will test and implement initiatives aimed at improving the efficiency of internal processes and meeting sustainability and environmental goals. The airline will work with DFL to develop an autonomous baggage transportation system.


DFF Dubai Future Labs will work with dnata to research, develop and test innovations to further improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of its ground handling and cargo operations at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC).

Under the MoU signed between the two organisations, Dubai Future Labs will support dnata in automating and converting its fleet to electric ground support equipment (GSE) and introducing robots to maximise operational and environmental efficiency. The partnership will also help dnata achieve its strategic goals and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2030.

Driven by its ambition to become a major driver of Dubai’s innovation ecosystem, Dubai Future Labs is delivering cutting-edge applied research projects in robotics and artificial intelligence that have the potential to make a global impact and improve Dubai’s readiness for the future. Through its scientists, engineers and industry experts, Dubai Future Labs acts as an advisor to the government, providing guidance on the technological challenges that various industries may face in the future.

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