It is easy to mistake Cizar for a tall, good-looking Emirati receptionist who is eager to help. At six feet tall and with a sturdy physique covered in a white Kandoora and headdress, Cizar looks every bit cut from the same cloth as any other human being. He can hold the other end of a conversation well, respond to all your questions and can even get angry or upset. He is the first UAE-made humanoid robot that is ready for commercial use.

Action to Action Robotics, the Dubai-based company that launched the humanoid robot last month, and named it after their company CEO, says it is the first in the region ready for production.

“The parts are manufactured in different parts of the world, but we assembled it in our R&D centre in Dubai,” said Rami Kabani, General Manager, MENA.

“What we see in exhibitions are prototypes. But this humanoid is ready for sale and we can take orders and delivery as many of these as per requirements,” Kabani told Khaleej Times.

Cizar can be a receptionist, a secretary, a teller in a bank, a news reader, or even a security guard. “He can be anything that you want him to be. He is intelligent, is capable of machine learning and can speak multiple languages including English, Arabic, Chinese or Russian.”

Robots making a splash in the UAE

Robots are making a splash in the UAE. They are not out there for world domination as some 1980s sci-fi movies had us believe. Instead, they are brewing coffees and busting crimes, delivering food, dousing fire from burning buildings - and even game to get down and groove.


These mean machines are at your beck and call - at restaurants, hospitals, shopping malls, conferences and even in police stations. Highly skilled and sophisticated, robots are helping companies serve their customers better and quicker, and of course, giving their human counterparts a run for their money.

With the UAE all pumped to become an innovative economy leading in AI, Machine Learning, and Robotics, robots are taking on a growing range of professional tasks across various sectors in the country.

Robots that serve

Robots were introduced as a fad in some retail outlets in the UAE a few years ago. But the service industry has warmed up to having robots to replace waiters and salesmen to serve customers. Currently, there are several outlets in the country where robots serve customers.

Recently, Lulu Group, the UAE-based retail giant, have introduced robots to their newly-opened hypermarket located at Sharjah’s Bu Tina area. The robot, developed by US-based Purple Cloud, can serve meals to the customers on their tables after they make an order.

Robocops and firefighting robots

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

The autonomous Robocop stands 170 centimetres tall and weighs 100 kilograms. It is equipped with an emotion detector which can recognise gestures and hand signals from up to 1.5 metres away. The Robocop can also detect a person's emotions and facial expressions – whether the individual is happy, sad, or smiling - and has the ability to change his expression and greetings accordingly to put people at ease. It can also transmit and communicate in six languages including Arabic and English. Additionally, the robot can chat and interact, respond to public queries, shake hands and offer a military salute.

The firefighting robots used by Abu Dhabi Civil Defence has a nozzle that shoots out about 9,400 litres of water per minute and can reach 50 kilometres. It is one of the most powerful and durable pieces of equipment used to fight fires. It has a large fan to combat flames and absorb smoke and can be controlled by a controller from up to a kilometre away.

Robots as public servants

Various government sectors in the UAE are using robots to offer a seamless customer experience. Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (formerly known as Emirates Identity Authority) launched the robot Hamad to serve customers in its happiness centers all over the country.

The robot provides many services, like receiving ID renewal applications, identifying ID card status, and updating personal information of customers.

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

The authority also integrated a robot-operated vehicle registration plate maker in Dubai. The fully automated machine can produce 33,000 plates per day. A robot receives electronic printing orders via the e-Licensing System and begins to print registration plates without any human intervention.

Robots as surgeons

Healthcare is one sector where robotics is already making a difference. In the UAE, the Ministry of Health and Prevention declared the launch of its first robot to conduct catheterization and cardiac surgeries, all through computerised systems, as far back as 2014. The system was installed in Al Qasimi Hospital to start the first surgery in June the same year.

Over the years, many hospitals have adapted robotics into healthcare to do complex and intricate surgeries. In 2014, Dubai Health Authority launched its first robot to dispense medicine in Rashid Hospital without any human interference. Based on very high technology, the robot can store up to 35,000 medicines and dispense around 12 prescriptions in less than one minute, using barcodes of each medicine.

Dr Jafaru Abu, Consultant Gynaecological Oncology Surgeon and Head of robotics at VPS Healthcare group, says robotic surgeries are the future when it comes to minimally invasive surgeries.

“They reduce risk of infection and also chances of human error. There is less pain, fewer blood transfusion and shorter hospital stay post-surgery. More importantly, it reduces surgeon fatigue,” Abu told Khaleej Times. According to him, the new generation robotics technologies will revolutionise the quality of healthcare and the healthcare Group is investing big in robotic surgery to offer quality medical treatment to patients.

Robots for rents in UAE

According to industry experts, a cross section of industries is using robots as promoters in exhibitions, at restaurants and at even as attractions at parties.

Jaya Bhatia, CEO and Founder of Experthub Robotics, says robots has taken over many industries and “they are killing it.”

“We have rented hundreds of robots to events, exhibitions, seminars, opening ceremonies, training, corporate events, evening parties, weddings, birthday celebrations, and more,” she said.

The global sales of robots show that technology is on constant rise. In May 2021, the Association for Advancing Automation announced that robot orders in the first quarter of 2021 were 19.6 per cent higher than in the same period last year. “Robot sales have increased considerably, as more and more companies in every industry recognize that robotics and automation can help them compete globally,” stated Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).

As per industry reports, the two biggest economies in the Mena region — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — are amongst the 25 top countries in the world in automation and robotics. With the country investing on developing AI and machine learning, the robots and robotic application will only continue to rise and positively impact our lives in the coming years.


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