UAE firm may replace low-skilled workers with robots

UAE firm may replace low-skilled workers with robots

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

Earlier this year, it launched REEM, a 1.65-metre tall mobile humanoid robot that can move at a speed of 5 km per hour.

Classified as a humanoid robot, REEM is equipped with an autonomous navigation system and 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 that can be used to transport luggage and other objects.

Tested at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), the robots proved so successful that ADNEC has placed an order for 20 robots and 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 the robots a month," Jorien Guijs, marketing manager at Pal Robotics, told the Arabian Business weekly magazine.

"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.

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 USD 269,157 each, depending on demand, the report said.

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