VISTAx Dubai AirShow: The Palm Tree Challenge with MBRSC & AWS

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The Target: Local Palm Trees 

The Challenge: Spot, Identify and Name. 

The Code: Machine Learning


In collaboration with Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), VISTA is calling MENA and the world’s Techiest startups, developers, and entrepreneurs to take on the Palm Tree Challenge at the Dubai Airshow 2021 for a chance to work with MBRSC and win the grand prize of $25,000 in AWS Credits.

This year, the challenge will be centered around Palm trees, considered a symbolic agricultural heritage in the UAE and a source of environmental and economic wealth. The aim of this challenge is to deliver an end-to-end deep learning or machine learning model to automatically detect all the palm trees from RGB aerial imagery, with efficient computational time.

Drone data processing technology and solutions have been one of the more interesting investment targets in MENA over recent years.  Between 2020 and 2021, startups that raised major funding rounds were focused on drone imaging, end-to-end data processing, and general ariel machine learning. Saudi-based UnitX provides a platform for edge-based computer vision that can process multi-modal data from drones in real-time to deliver insights within seconds has raised a stellar $2.M YTD. The star of the bunch is FalconViz raising $12M YTD by providing end-to-end Asset Digitization to Process Digitalization services utilizing drones.


In preparation for the challenge, aerial images consisting of more than 250,000 palm trees will be given to the participants for labeling and training purposes. In order to evaluate the efficiency of the developed models, the judges will test the models on an image consisting of around 500 palm trees.
The challenge brings out the potential of data-driven Ariel imaging possibilities, combining Aerospace technology with high-end machine learning infrastructures to create autonomous scanning and spotting solutions. The implications of these solutions could immensely elevate many business functions from engineering, construction, shipping to medical rescue and public policy. 

Adnan Al Rais, Program Manager of Mars 2117 & Senior Director Remote Sensing Department, MBRSC welcomes participants “We at MBSRC are seeking disruptive, innovative ideas that can help us accurately and effectively map and monitor palm trees, which is not only a cultural heritage for the UAE and the Arab world but also a resource-rich plant that has numerous socio-economic benefits. The winner of the challenge will have potentially created something – whether it’s a product, solution, or application – that will have a significant contribution to the many industries associated with palm trees as well as to the UAE’s environmental initiatives. We are looking forward to the pitch day, confident that we will be amazed by the variety of ideas that we will be presented with.”

The six finalists will pitch live at the world’s biggest gathering of aerospace innovators and disruptors and receive mentorship from MBRSC and AWS to ensure each successful applicant has the best resources available to build the ultimate solution.

Apply HERE- before October 7, 2021.

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