Equipped with GPS, shock absorbers and a whip, robots are slowly replacing human jockeys.
Several years ago, a huge scandal broke out when gambling news revealed that young boys were being kidnapped and forced to work as jockeys in camel races organized in the Middle East. Today, this is not a problem anymore, as states have banned the use of children in the popular sport.
Much to the amazement of tourists, race track operators have come up with something different to replace their former employees: robot jockeys. Equipped with a whip, GPS systems and shock absorbers, these remote-controlled devices appear to be doing a much better job anyway.
Robot jockeys were first introduced in 2004, but nowadays they are slowly starting to replace their human counterparts. The devices are controlled by their owners, who ride by the race tracks in their cars.
A local tradition
Camel racing is one of the oldest sports in the Middle East and today, it’s one of the few options available for gamblers who want to bet on sports in Saudi Arabia. These animals are very fast and they can reach speeds up to 65 km/h in short sprints. In addition, they are very strong and can maintain a speed of 40 km/h for a whole hour.
The sport is popular in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Australia and Mongolia.