NYU Abu Dhabi Partners With Etihad Cargo for Innovative Airline Cargo Logistics Course

'Cargie' awaits last-minute adjustments before a demonstration in front of Etihad Cargo officials. Cargie is a load-carrying robot that could potentially replace workers in cargo loading bays. It utilizes a camera tracking system to map an area and 'learn' its surroundings. It can be controlled and sent to specific locations using an app. It was developed by NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2017 graduate Batu Aytemiz.

Press Release

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) partnered with Etihad Cargo for a unique intensive four-week summer course, Driving Genius, to look at how different aspects of robotics, programming, and design principles can help to develop solutions aimed at the airline cargo industry.

“It’s about establishing a partnership where students gain everything they would from a traditional course including the opportunity to test their models in the real-world ‘laboratory’ of the organization,” said Christian Grewell, partner in the Program on Creativity + Innovation, and professor of interactive media arts at NYU Shanghai, who led the summer course at NYUAD.

When Etihad engaged with us, they engaged across every function of their business and at various levels in the organization. We came up with ideas for people not just in executive positions, but in-line level operational roles. That's an invaluable experience for students when combined with the work we do in the lab and classroom.”

NYU Abu Dhabi freshman Doovaraha Maheshwarasarma demonstrates the HoloCargo app to Senior Vice President Cargo of Etihad Cargo David Kerr, left, and Head of Cargo Handling Robert Fordree, right, at the Etihad Cargo office in Masdar City.

Students were given access to Etihad Cargo’s warehouse operations in order to develop an understanding of how things work and to be able to identify processes where efficiencies could potentially be improved. They were then split into three groups and tasked with designing and developing feasible tailor-made solutions using virtual technology.

Ashley Tennant and Ming Hu set up Google Cardboard for a demonstration of how their Viz360 app would work as their teammate Vishwanath Chandrasekhar looks on.

At the end of the four weeks, students presented four prototypes to Etihad Cargo’s senior vice president David Kerr and head of cargo handling, Robert Fordee. The prototypes were: Cargie, a load-carrying robot capable of machine learning; Paper Trail, an app to track airway bills and cargo documents; Viz360, a virtual training app; and HoloCargo, a 3D scanning and virtual reality system that can help loadmasters build pallets of boxes in a 3D environment.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.