I am Robo…what can I do for you: Saudi Arabia deploys `Guidance Robot’ to counsel pilgrims at holy sites

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MAKKAH: General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has deployed `Guidance Robot’ to counsel pilgrims about rituals to be performed during Umrah at the holy sites.

Arab News reported that it is designed to provide advice to pilgrims, including guidance on how to perform rituals, as well as to provide fatwas on legal issues for performing Umrah.

The robot can communicate in Arabic, English, and Urdu and is situated in the courtyard of the Grand Mosque, near the King Abdulaziz Gate.

Sheikh Badr bin Abdullah Al-Furaih, deputy president for guidance affairs, told Arab News that the robot is commonly asked between 100 to 150 questions daily regarding Umrah rituals during Ramadan. The majority of people interacting with the robot are Saudi, Syrian, Pakistani, or Indian, he added.

The robot can access information from numerous books, as well as advice provided by scholars from around the Arab world.

The Guidance Robot has a 21-inch touch screen and is equipped with four wheels and a ‘smart stopping system’ that ensures ‘smooth and flexible movement,’ according to the presidency, as well as cameras at the front and rear that provide the robot with a panoramic image of its location, high-definition headphones, and a microphone. It is connected to a high-speed 5GHz Wi-Fi network.

The Guidance Robot has a 21-inch touch screen and is equipped with four wheels and a ‘smart stopping system’ that ensures “smooth and flexible movement,” according to the presidency, as well as cameras at the front and rear that provide the robot with a panoramic image of its location, high-definition headphones, and a microphone. It is connected to a high-speed 5GHz Wi-Fi network.

As part of its digital project, the General Presidency has also introduced a sterilization robot and a robot that dispenses Zamzam water to pilgrims. The robots can run for up to eight hours on a full battery charge.

The digital project has been developed in parallel to the General Presidency’s “How To Be A Role Model In The Digital World” campaign. Both initiatives are part of the presidency’s broader development plans for the Two Holy Mosques.