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Cardiff University heads to EXPO 2020 Dubai

10 November 2021

Alin Constantin and Ry Galloway, photos courtesy of Es Devlin.

Cardiff University scientists are taking their research to the world stage at the EXPO 2020 Dubai, discussing the future of travel and how it will be influenced by electrification.

Through several interactive and engaging workshops, organised by Dominic Dattero-Snell from the School of Engineering, the team will be inviting audiences to learn, debate and present their ideas and views on how the electrification of travel could impact them in the future.

Audiences will be challenged with a range of thought-provoking questions and ideas, including how our travel methods may look in 100 years’ time, the types of fuel that will make these methods possible, and if we may ever reach a point of being able to travel in a fully automated vehicle.

The workshops, which will be primarily aimed at schoolchildren attending from the United Arab Emirates, will be presented alongside several demonstrations of technology that the team use in their everyday research.

Cardiff University’s world-leading research in the field of electric vehicles is spearheaded by The Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence (EVCE), which brings together experts from Cardiff University School of Engineering, Cardiff Business School’s Centre for Automotive Industry Research (CAIR), School of Computer Science and Informatics, School of Geography and Planning, and the School of Psychology.

Work within the Centre ranges from issues such as vehicle autonomous control, wireless charging of electric vehicles and user behaviour, to the modelling of transport systems and smart grids.

Professor Liana Cipcigan, Director of EVCE and Principal Investigator of the DTE Network+, said: “This event provides a great opportunity for us to showcase how our research, across Cardiff University, can contribute to the changes that the transport industry is likely to see over the next 10 years, especially in the UK. As we realise the importance of reducing fossil fuel vehicles and their impact on the environment, both technology and behaviour change will contribute to changes in how we travel.”

Laura Faulkner OBE, UK Commissioner General, said “We are pleased to have expertise from Cardiff University taking part in our programme of events showcasing how the UK is leading the way in innovative technology that will have an impact around the world.”

Thanks to support from Welsh Government, the team have secured a place in the UK Pavilion at the exhibition, whose theme this year is ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.

Inspired by one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, 'Breakthrough Message', the UK Pavilion will invite visitors to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves as a planet should we one day encounter other advanced civilisations in space.

It is within the UK pavilion that Professor Yacine Rezgui, from the School of Engineering, will take part in one of a number of discussions events, known as a World Majlis, to discuss the future of the built environment.

Based on one of the most cherished practices of Arabic culture – the traditional ‘majlis’ – the World Majlis aims to be a space for ideas and conversations to make important and complex topics relatable to the general public.

Professor Morgan, from the School of Psychology, has been selected as a speaker for the summit session ‘Changing our behaviours to advance distributed trust’ during the ‘How will we Advance?’ Breakthrough Moment.

Expo 2020 Dubai has been billed as a celebration of creativity, innovation, humanity and world cultures, and will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, and the largest event ever held in the Arab world.

With over 190 countries participating, it expects to draw in around 25m visits throughout the six months that it will be open.

Professor Rudolf Allemann, Pro Vice-Chancellor, International and Student Recruitment and Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering at Cardiff University, said: “The Expo provides a great platform for us to highlight the importance of combining education and research in this important area.

“Cardiff University offers expertise across a number of Schools, from catalysts for fuels that reduce emissions to use of alternative forms of energy sources to power our transport and built environments. Underpinning these are emerging data and artificial intelligence technologies to understand demand and usage patterns. As a leading global University working towards a transition to ‘net zero’ emissions, we are delighted to be part of this major global event.”

Expo 2020 Dubai will run from 1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022, with the Cardiff University workshops taking place in the UK Pavilion, located in the Opportunity District, on 21 November 2021.

Dr Yacine Rezgui will take part in the World Majlis, entitled ‘Digital Twins and New Realities’, on Tuesday 11 January 2022, from 16:00 - 18:00.

More information on the workshops can be found here.

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