Exploring Dubai feels like you’re on fast-forward, thanks to its diverse economy, great infrastructure and emerging technology. The city certainly looks impressive and even futuristic for most visitors.
This is all thanks to years of strategic investment in key areas like transport and construction. As a result, the city is able to attract a lot of international attention for tourism and business.
The Architecture of Dubai
There is probably no denying that Dubai’s architecture is a huge draw for people who view the city as ‘futuristic’. The designs contribute a lot to the feeling of technological advancement found in the city.
Many of Dubai’s most iconic buildings were completed in recent times. As such, they are able to utilise modern sensibilities when it comes to the aesthetics of their buildings.
Photo by Denys Gromov
For example, the Burj Khalifa, which stands as the tallest building in the world, uses a spiralling cross-section meant to minimise wind vibration, which are quite common in a desert environment like Dubai.
Another example is Al Barari, where its luxury villas and apartments integrate solar panels within its design for more sustainable energy.
Functionally, these buildings are used for both residential and commercial establishments. People of all walks of life intersect within them on a daily basis, exposing more people to the wonders of its architectural design.
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric
Speaking of technology, Dubai even earned a Guinness World Record title for the world’s first 3D-printed commercial building, adding to the UAE’s amazing 400 records to date.
Future Developments – Smart Dubai
Photo from: CNN
Despite some setbacks during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dubai (as well as other cities in the UAE) remains as a vital growth engine for the global economy.
The city intends to use its technological advancements to make the place more sustainable and accessible as part of Smart Dubai 2021.
The new roadmap plans to make improvements in key areas like the financial and resource infrastructure; traffic and transportation; water and waste; electricity; and construction as already mentioned with their 3D printing.
Dubai is home to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park – the largest single-site solar park in the world. It is developed as part of Dubai’s commitment to its Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050.
This array of solar panels has now reached 1,013 MW of energy production once the third phase of the solar park was completed back in 2020.
Should they complete the fourth phase on schedule by 2030, the park should bolster around 25% of Dubai’s total energy production, reaching up to 5,000 MW.
Speaking of transportation, Dubai also plans to launch its first fleet of self-driving taxis in 2023. They have already started work on digitally mapping the city in order to facilitate these so-called “smart taxis” in the future.
It is said that these taxis will work similar to Uber, where customers can book a ride via an app on their mobile phones. At the same time, the UAE plans that all vehicles used will be eco-friendly electric vehicles, reducing the impact on the environment.
The Dubai – Abu Dhabi Hyperloop
Photo from: Hyperloop One website
In addition to the self-driving taxi service, the city has also entertained the idea of travelling between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes via the Virgin Hyperloop One.
The concept first debuted at the Dubai International Motor Show back in 2019. If completed, this multi-billion dollar project will be the first of its kind in the region.
Think of it as like a very futuristic-looking freight train of sorts. Unlike fast railway systems though, these do not run on a set schedule and will be available on demand.
As part of Dubai’s commitment to clean energy, the Virgin Hyperloop One is projected to run 100% on electricity, and will be constructed on high-rise columns or underground passages, reducing contact with wildlife and other existing transport infrastructure.
The idea behind the Hyperloop is to reduce the pollution, congestion, and commute time associated with traditional transport in the city.
For example, an employee renting an apartment in Mussafah where it’s cheaper can come to work in Dubai for less than 15 minutes. At least, if the Hyperloop’s goals are met.
Virgin promises passenger comfort to be quite good as well. When completed, it is said to be no different than riding in an elevator or a small aeroplane.
While it’s not as sophisticated as Peter Weller’s character in the 1987 film, Dubai did showcase a robotic cop of sorts back in 2017.
The robotic policeman is used to patrol busy areas in the city, identifying wanted criminals and collecting evidence of the offences committed. It uses face recognition and sophisticated cameras in order to do its job.
This allows the robot to compare faces with the police database in real-time, flagging matches immediately to the police headquarters.
Outside of its crime-tracking duties, its video feed can also monitor high-risk areas like traffic or keep an eye on unattended bags left by shoppers in Dubai’s popular spots.
In addition to having a literal robotic policeman patrolling the streets, Dubai has also partnered with Singaporean startup OTSAW Digital to introduce self-driving police cars.
These autonomous cars are actually quite small, more akin to a child’s pedal car than a full-sized patrol vehicle. Nonetheless, they will use the same sensory technology used in their larger counterparts.
Police intend the small vehicles to be used as portable surveillance systems meant to search for wanted individuals or vehicles, as well as monitor risk areas in the city.
All these developments combined makes for a futuristic aesthetic within the city, with some of them even looking reminiscent of sci-fi stories.
However, it is important to develop technology not just for its own sake but also in a way that benefits the environment and the community. The city has certainly done just that.
Living in Dubai is certainly an exciting time. Those looking to travel to the country in the coming years may just find plenty of surprises waiting for them.