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11 ways robots are transforming the UAE

Person, Human, Helmet Supplied
Robots in the Mohammed bin Rashid Library make finding and choosing books far more exciting

A new AED1 billion ($272 million) library, which  opened in Dubai on Thursday, will employ artificial intelligence (AI) in its operations, including in choosing titles and borrowing and returning books.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Library will use a first-of-its-kind smart system in the Middle East to send commands to robots to locate books and deliver them to readers wherever they are in the different departments spread across seven storeys.

It’s the latest example of the pace of UAE technology acceleration and its integration into everyday lives.

Last year, the industrial robot market was estimated at $50 billion, seeing nearly 400,000 shipments across multiple markets globally. 

Here are ten other examples of how robots are being deployed today in the UAE:


Customers at this Dubai cafe can place their orders with German-made robots, while the fully autonomous delivery bots are designed and made in the UAE. RoboCafe was created with support from Dubai’s government artificial intelligence initiative. Humans are only called upon when there are glitches, or to sanitise surfaces.

Expo 2020 Dubai robots

Anyone who visited Expo 2020 Dubai would have seen an orange robot called Opti. The Expo mascot greeted visitors, shared information, gave directions and often broke into synchronised dances. In addition to 50 Optis, 102 other programmable robots performed various tasks at the world fair including 22 security patrol robots, 30 concierge-style indoor robots and another 50 that carried Expo maps or distributed free drinks.

Indoors, Supermarket, Grocery Store
Tally keeps an eye on the groceries

Carrefour robot

After putting its first robot into action in 2019, Carrefour, owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the UAE, announced a roll-out of its robotic workforce across the UAE last year. Tally was the first robot to be employed by a retailer in the Middle East.

Weighing 30kg and reaching a height of 163cm, Tally and her robotic colleagues are equipped with cameras and sensors that make them capable of scanning up to 15,000 products, three times a day, checking for any stock errors.

Al Qasimi Hospital robot

In 2014, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention announced the launch of its first robot to conduct catheterisation and cardiac surgeries, all through computerised systems. 

Workshop, Machine, Tabletop
You never again need to ask a human being for an embarrassing ointment at the pharmacy

Robotic pharmacy

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention announced in early 2017 the launch of a robotic pharmacy to deliver medicines in the external clinics of Al Fujairah Hospital. The robotic pharmacy aims to avoid the dispensing of wrong medicines and waiting for a long time. In the same year, Dubai Health Authority launched its first robot to dispense medicine in Rashid Hospital. The robot can store up to 35,000 medicines and dispense around 12 prescriptions in less than one minute, using barcodes of each medicine.

Person, Human, Monitor
Would you argue with this Robocop?

Robot policeman

In May 2017, Dubai Police employed the world’s first operational robot policeman, who officially joined the line of duty at the opening of the 4th Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference.

The autonomous Robocop stands 170 centimetres tall and is equipped with an emotion detector which can recognise gestures and hand signals from up to 1.5 metres away. Additionally, the robot can chat and interact, respond to public queries, shake hands and offer a military salute.

Person, Human, Water
Ok, so it’s not Pamela Anderson but it might still save your life

Baywatch robot 

Dubai Municipality uses robots to help save lives on the beaches of Dubai. The robots are designed to withstand the worst climatic conditions and can be used in the event of high waves or heavy ocean currents that are difficult for human lifeguards to conduct rescue operations. One robot is capable of saving four to five people at the same time.

Hamad the robot

In November 2014, the UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship launched a robot called Hamad to serve customers in its happiness centres all over the country. Hamad provides services such as receiving ID renewal applications, identifying ID card status, and updating personal information of customers.

Warehouse, Building, Clothing
The future of supply chains

Robotic fulfilment centre

IQ Fulfilment, the MENA region’s first robotic fulfilment centre, opened in Dubai in 2019. Launched by IQ Holding, the centre provides full back-end solutions using the latest in robotics, AI and software platforms to support the supply chain and logistics industry. The robotic technologies used at the centre help process 12,000 robotic orders daily, delivering a 99.9 percent accuracy rate, and three times the human output.

Airport, Airport Terminal, Terminal
The Metro cleaner is good for the environment as it uses less water

Dubai Metro robots

The RTA also uses robots to clean Dubai Metro stations. The purpose of using the cleaner is to reduce consumption of water required for traditional cleaning and provide deliberate sterilisation.

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