Bayanat: Mapping Abu Dhabi’s Smart Future

Bayanat: Mapping Abu Dhabi’s Smart Future 

With more than 45 years of experience in geospatial mapping, Bayanat has been on a roll for the past few years, expanding its capabilities, pushing the boundaries of smart mobility, and launching new AI-powered products. Managing Director Hasan Al Hosani explains. 

What role does geospatial intelligence, Bayanat’s area of expertise, play in making a city smarter? 

Our unique AI-powered predictive intelligence platform, gIQ, acquires data from various sources of Earth observation – optical, synthetic aperture radar, and multi-spectrum imagery – processes this data, and transforms it into various visualisation products like high-definition maps, 3D models, and digital twins that enable simpler, faster, and better decision-making. It also absorbs all sorts of data flows, such as power consumption or demography, to create simulations and make predictions, all in one interface. 

In addition, the implementation of autonomous systems – be it on air, land, or sea – requires accurate georeferencing points. For drone delivery or autonomous driving, precision to a submeter level and up to a 2cm level is absolutely necessary, which Bayanat now offers at the entire UAE scale through our smart mobility solutions and gIQ capabilities.

Lastly, we utilise geospatial intelligence, AI, and remote sensing for smart operations solutions, to predict traffic spikes or optimise trash collection, for example.

How did you develop Abu Dhabi’s digital twin?

For the last few decades, Bayanat has been providing geospatial data for all the maps of the UAE. This data is Bayanat’s treasure, and we were eager to utilise it. 

We scanned the entire city in high definition and, with partners like Unreal Engine and Unity, we created a digital twin of Abu Dhabi – a city-level digital predictive and simulation model that we update constantly using AI to detect changes – that can be used by various entities: for example, organisers of large events to simulate transportation, parking locations, and crowd movements; or for disaster preparation, simulating how floods and earthquakes can impact urban areas.

TXAI, our autonomous taxi fleet in Saadiyat and Yas Island, is already utilising our digital twin to manage its operations, and we’re expanding this model to incorporate other smart city solutions and services related to parking, tolls, and public transportation data. Eventually, our objective is to develop a subscription-based business model for our digital twin, on top of our current bespoke project format.

What is Bayanat’s “smart city as a service” solution?

We want to take a streamlined approach, giving comprehensive access to our expertise and cutting-edge technologies – geospatial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), payment integration, big data, and AI capabilities – without requiring significant investments. It’s a full journey, from consumers to enterprise to government, empowering stakeholders’ efficient asset management and enhancing the daily lives of citizens.

For example, we work with Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Transportation Centre (ITC) to integrate all of their data into one platform; but this mobility-as-a-service solution can also include other layers of information related to the tourism, healthcare, and medical sectors, as well as crisis management. Eventually, this can open the window for consumers.

We are very keen to develop such joint-revenue models, whereby we sit with specific entities to identify the kind of data they have, how this data can be monetised, and the right solution to facilitate the consumer journey. And we are very blessed that today, all the different sectors within the Abu Dhabi government work in synergy. They’re the ones demanding integrated data flows and systems, and they are very supportive. 

What other kinds of partnerships are you developing to support this multi-faceted strategy?

We partner with the government sector, which drives the regulatory process; with local companies and enterprises, such as Marakeb for unmanned maritime systems and Yahsat to build our Earth observation capability; and with global companies in different fields, from smart mobility to robotics, hyperspectral imaging, and data analytics. We’re always keen not to reinvent the wheel, but to find the right partner that can give us the right momentum and take the technology to the next level.

We also signed a PPP agreement with the UAE Space Agency [in 2022] enabling small and medium businesses to utilise gIQ as a one-stop-shop to create their own applications, forming an innovation hub and marketplace for geospatial data. 

This is at the core of what Bayanat is building. As we expand into remote sensing and Earth observation data, we’re also expanding downstream, absorbing, processing, disseminating, and visualising all of this data into one platform. Bayanat is a growth story. Our core business is geospatial intelligence, but we’re always open to adding more verticals as we evolve and take a larger footprint internationally. The applications are limitless. 

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