Robotic Camel Racers

By Deane Barker on April 20, 2005

In Qatar, high-tech solution to a human rights problem: This is so strange that I almost think it’s a hoax. Qatar camel racing will start using robot racers in 2007. They want to ban the practice of using children, which seems to be a disturbing problem:

Activists say there are about 40,000 boy jockeys, some as young as 4, who are either bought from their parents or kidnapped from their home countries and taken to the Gulf to ride. The boys live in bleak conditions and are underfed before races to keep their weight down.

There was a picture in the print version of the USAToday, but I can’t find one on the Web (I didn’t look that hard…). If someone can find a picture of Kamel, as they’re calling it, please post it.




    I saw this on several sites last week. I wonder though… from what I read it sounds like the “jockeys” will be remote controlled, so does that make them truly robots? Doesn’t the term “robotic jockey” at least imply some degree of autonomy on the part of the robot?

  2. Three scenarios:

    (1) If they’re NOT remote-controlled and they’re all the same, then it becomes a true camel race, which everything comes down to the speed of the camel.

    (2) If they’re NOT remote-controlled and teams build their own, then it becomes a combination organic-robotic race, since the victor is determined by (a) the speed of the camel, and (b) the proficiency of the robot.

    (3) If they ARE remote controlled, then it sort of becomes an organic video game, with you playing the game from affair but also dependent on the physical prowess of the camel you use to race.

  3. Just would like to thankyou for the information, as I am currently conducting a talk based on Qatar. The teacher asked the talk to be interesting. And thanks to both of your’s interesting finiding of this issue, i now have a very interesting and funny topic to talk about. Thanks again

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