…Dubai police have confirmed they uncovered a gang of dealers who were selling electric stun gun kits, for up to Â£5,000, across the region. These were then being fitted inside the robot jockeys… The electric shocks could be administered by remote control to encourage the camel to run faster.
I had heard of these robots before (not the stun gun part) but seeing this recent story led me to research the robots a bit.
A robot jockey is commonly used on camels in camel racing as a replacement for human jockeys. Developed since 2004, the robotic jockeys are slowly phasing out the use of human jockeys… The government of Qatar initiated development of the robots at the beginning of 2001. The first successful model was made in 2003 by Stanely in co-ordination with Rashid Ali Ibrahim from the Qatar Scientific Club. At the end of 2003, the design, with a revised analysis, was tendered to Swiss robotics firm K-Team. Initial problems faced by the design team, led by Alexandre Colot, included the fact that the camels were conditioned to the use of human jockeys. Early designs confused or frightened the camels. The designs were modified to include more human-like features, including a mannequin-like face, sunglasses, hats, racing silks and even traditional perfumes used by human jockeys
In the USA we have the “Triple Crown Races” – The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and The Belmont Stakes. But, I was unable to find any effort to replace horse jockeys with robots, however – there does appear some effort replacing the horses with robots (video above). I think I’d like to see more humans ride robots…
Someone had to ride Big Dog already.