The Illegal Robot Jockeys of Arab Camel Racing

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Did you know that remote-controlled robot jockeys have replaced human riders in traditional camel racing in the Gulf? Yeah, me neither. The bots come equipped with a little whip that can be made to spin by pressing a button or voice activation. These robots now stand in for the young children who used to be ride the camels. But that's old news, apparently. Now, it turns out that modded robots jockeys with the ability to deliver an electric shock to the camels were being sold!

Robot jockeys have been used in camel racing in the Middle East for several years following international condemnation of the use of children as jockeys, often as young as four. They allow animals' owners to remotely whip and steer the camels from the sidelines and can also be equipped with GPS and a heart-rate monitor to assess performance. However, using electric shocks on a camel is not permitted during races and anyone caught doing so can face up to three months in prison.

Read the full story at Wired (UK).

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/01/the-illegal-robot-jockeys-of-arab-camel-racing/70261/