Abu Dhabi to produce life-size robots from next year

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Abu Dhabi has developed a life-size robot that could take the place of human workers

Abu Dhabi has developed a life-size robot that could take the place of human workers

Abu Dhabi has developed a life-size robot that could take the place of human workers, Arabian Business has learned. [photos]

The UAE capital is planning to open a factory late next year which will produce around dozen of the robots per month.

Barcelona-based company PAL Robotics, part of Abu Dhabi conglomerate the Royal Group, is a robotics company focused on the research, development and commercialisation of humanoid robots.

Earlier this year it launched REEM, a 1.65m tall mobile humanoid robot which can move at 5km per hour. Trialed at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), the robots proved so successful that PAL plans to open a factory next year in the emirate to manufacture REEM humanoids.

“To be able to deliver these robots to ADNEC, and other future clients, we are building a factory in Abu Dhabi. If all goes according to plan, the factory will be ready by the second half of 2012, producing about a dozen of robots a month,” Jorien Guijs, marketing manager at Pal Robotics, told Arabian Business.

“At the moment REEM is prepared for use at exhibition centres and shopping malls. In the future we will focus as well on the healthcare sector, airports, museums and other public spaces,” Guijs added.

Classed as a humanoid robot, REEM is equipped with an autonomous navigation system, a touch screen, and PAL claims it is capable of roaming through any kind of surroundings, replacing traditionally employed low-skilled workers.

It can be used as a guide or an entertainer and its functions include face tracking and recognition functions and a small platform, which can be used to transport luggage and other objects. The inbuilt lithium battery allows it to move around for up to eight hours without the need for cables.

Once the robots go into production next year, Guijs estimated they will cost up to €200,000 ($269,157) each, depending on demand.

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Posted by: keenObzerver

These robots will most likely be attached to floor and marble shining equipment and let loost in the airport or convention center, or will distribute soft drinks and fruit juices. Or as a high tech security Bot with cameras and loudspeakers, also for events and airports/ formula one
This is more about PR and projecting the UAE in a modern and hitech light, and less about replacing human employees.

They could also be used to clear land mines :)

Posted by: Shakil

Imagine one day you get really really frustrated by these 'in-human' robots and you scream "Enough is enough, I want to see your manager".

The Robot quitely goes into an office and come back with another Giant Robot!

Posted by: Hal

Great comments, quite rightly pouring humourous scorn and ridicule on this financially nonsensical (un)development.
I very much hope AB will forward the collected comments to whomever might be in charge of this before the money is tossed away.

Posted by: procan

Got to agree with Hal on this. Is there a future with robots of course we use them every day, and more will be used , but as a domestic or care giver it is in the distant future, to day they are promotional devices no better than toys .

Posted by: Worldnomad

I see a great future in the customer service industry. The lives of many CSRs will no longer be cursed. No feelings to be hurt when frustrated customers scream or swear at them. Their blank faces will be no different from the current level of service, and the explanation they provide for not correcting the problem can be on their screens (not too close to the customer or they may become damaged). Customers will leave wondering where the plug is instead of malicious thoughts about the poor CSRs. Fantastic idea! Let's implement globally.

Posted by: telcoguy

@mm, how is that different from the current situation?

Posted by: mm

I cant wait to be served by a robot that have nothing but automated replies and not able to provide solutions or alternatives! no, can not see the great future - if anything, it would be terrible (and expensive) customer service, to say the least.

Posted by: layla

I agree with stu, he makes more sense. people need to start caring about people not just money. Perhaps the robots can be used for hazardous jobs then it would be worth the cost.

Posted by: Stu Pidhuman

Just a thought !

How about paying a 'low-skilled (human) worker' a salary of $3,000 per month ( which is more than double the typical amount paid in this region)?

You could employ him/her for 7 years !! With the initial amount of $269,000 invested and monthly salaries deducted, you will also have over $30,000 at the end of the 7 years to give that worker a well deserved 'gratuity'.

During these 7 years, the 'human' worker will buy goods and spend money adding to the economy. He/she will support a family and even an extended family.

All the money spent on the robot for charging batteries every day (electricity), and maintenance, can be spent on the worker for medical insurance and other extras.

In less than 7 years the robot will be useless whereas the worker and his/her family would have made a good life for themselves an helped others too.

Then again, what do I know? .......... I am just a stupid human !!!

Posted by: Jack Daniel

So which companies will have their Management Staff replaced, since the term 'low skilled' applies to that catagory too ????

@Chris - If they really consider the 'low skilled' Management Staff in that category, I assume these robots maybe much cheaper.......

Also I agree @John Smith.......regarding the classification.

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