Emirates Group unveils aviation innovation hub in Dubai
Ebdaa hub is located in former Emirates pavilion at Expo 2020 site
Emirates Group has launched Ebdaa, a hi-tech aviation innovation hub located in the former Emirates Airline pavilion structure at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai.
Ebdaa, which means creativity in Arabic, is spread across three storeys and occupies more than 35,520sqft. The design and façade are modelled around an aircraft’s wings taking flight, with 24 aluminium cladded fins that curve around two sides of the building structure.
The facility was built using innovative fabrication technologies, building techniques and sustainable design elements, including integrated solar arrays, sustainable off-site construction, responsive solar shading and a verdant landscape indoors and outdoors. The interior’s bright, ultramodern design lets in ample natural light.
The new hub showcases three key technologies: Robotics, AI and Web 3.0.
Key features of Ebdaa include a 55-seater XR theatre, a first of its kind within a corporate entity in the Middle East. Here, an LED-powered stage with XR capabilities, camera tracking and real-time 3D renders enables presenters to connect and immerse global audiences in simulated worlds – from inspirational destinations to creative, learning or operational environments.
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Aviation robotics lab
Another highlight is the aviation robotics lab. In partnership with Dubai Future Labs and other global leaders in robotics, this space is both a showcase and a workspace for design, development and experimentation in social and industrial robots. This includes the first AI-powered customer support robot developed in-house by the robotics team, giving a glimpse of the future of customer-robot interactions.
The facility’s VR chamber will showcase immersive experiences built on MIRA, Emirates Group’s new extended reality (XR) platform. This platform will be trialled using innovative wearables – headsets and haptic gloves.
AI-powered executive boardroom, the purpose-built hybrid meeting space with AI technologies, allows executives to connect and collaborate with teams and audiences worldwide.
The circular IX studio is a multifunctional room with hi-fi video, audio and presentation tech where teams can co-design new products or tap into an extensive content library to transport guests into bespoke worlds – whether deep diving into Emirates’ global destinations, touring below-the-wing cargo and logistics elements, or even practising mindfulness and meditation.
The hub’s innovation heritage, the Insights wall, allows visitors to explore and interact with the decade-wise milestones of Emirates Group’s history centred on innovation.
The partnership showcase space is dedicated to Emirates Group’s strategic partnerships across the aviation and technology ecosystems, allowing partners to showcase their latest projects and products.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chair and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, who inaugurated the new hub on December 14, 2023, said: “The aviation ecosystem is changing at a phenomenal pace, driven by technology and human ingenuity.
“Ebdaa will evolve and tap into these drivers – the latest tech, R&D and insights; customer feedback; our people’s expertise; and our thriving community of partnerships and start-ups. It will help us design amazing experiences for our customers and employees, create tailored solutions for the Emirates Group and reaffirm Dubai’s status as a hub for commercial aviation.
“Ebdaa has been designed to help foster strategic collaboration with corporate leaders and VIPs, forge new partnerships and inspire our people. Our intent is to excite hearts, engage minds, and explore the future of aviation together. Ebdaa has repurposed our Expo pavilion, leveraging the considerable investments we made at the time, making it a sustainable and an enduring legacy for aviation and Dubai.”
Featured image: An Emirates flight crew member in the VR chamber at Ebdaa. Image: Emirates