Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi-based Pal Technology late on Wednesday launched Reem B, a prototype for the development of one of the most sophisticated humanoid service robots in the world.

The launch at Abu Dhabi's Reem Island was in the presence of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

"The robot will one day assist us in guiding and help mainly the older people, those who have mobility problems, in hospitals," said David Faconti, project leader of Pal Technology at a news conference, ahead of the launch. He declined to comment on the size of the investment that went into developing the robot.

"It took our team four years to develop the 60 kilogramme, 1.47 metre tall robot, which can operate for up to two hours on a single battery charge," Faconti added.

Reem B is the evolution of the first humanoid robot, Reem A, created by Pal Technology Robotics. Faconti said there will be no prototypes anymore from Pal Technology, which was established in 2000, and that they are planning commercial venture for humanoid legged robots in the near future.

"Pal Technology's ultimate goal is to create a truly useful humanoid service robot that will be able to help humans in the future with sophisticated tasks. Reem B is clearly aligned with this vision, not only representing the next generation of humanoid robotics, but a robot designed to assist people and not replace them," said Basar Shueb, general manager.

Features: Almost human

The key features of Reem B include its acceptance of voice commands and engaging in simple conversations. It can learn and then recognise faces, having a grasping ability that uses infrared and touch sensors.

The robot is completely made of aluminium and can map indoor spaces, locate itself in the space and then navigate around unaided. It uses two main computers: one real-time for control purposes and one for multimedia applications. Reem B can carry loads up to 13 kilograms.