Towards A More Benign Camel Racing Robot
    By Martin Gardiner | February 14th 2013 09:39 AM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Although robotic jockeys for camel racing have been successfully deployed for several years now, some have voiced concerns about them – for many of the 'bots are configured to vigorously cane the competing camels. (Hi-res photographic example here – the Swiss-made KMEL - manufactured by the K-Team Corporation – note the robotic whipping mechanism).
    But now a potentially less harmful camel jockey-bot is available. It was developed by researcher and inventor Mohamed Shakir, formerly based at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Qatar University. The bot still brandishes a whip, but it’s used only to provide a ‘whip-crack’ sound above the camel (rather than actually thrashing its ‘sensitive areas’). At the same time it also relays crucial voice commands to the animal via a dedicated radio-link, amplifier and a set of speakers. The commands are remotely provided in real-time by the camel’s trainer – who rides alongside the racetrack in the comfort of an SUV.

    A photo of the new camel jockey-bot is available here, courtesy

    Notes: The impetus for camel-jockey-bot development came in 2002, when the United Arab Emirates prohibited the use of child camel-jockeys (under 15 years of age). Qatar followed suit with similar legislation in 2005.

    BONUS: Explore the extensive camel racing facilities at As-Sahhaniyah, (a.k.a. Al Shahaniyah) Qatar, via satellite imagery courtesy Google maps. [zoom out to view]