Cairo: Saudi authorities have introduced a smart robot guiding pilgrims on Islamic rituals as part of optimal utilisation of high technology and artificial intelligence in boosting services at the Grand Mosque in Mecca,.
The multi-lingual machine gives pilgrims access to fatwas (religious edicts) and establishes remote contacts with scholars for them, the Saudi news agency SPA reported.
The remote-controlled robot offers its services in 11 languages including Arabic, English, French, Russian, Persian, Turkish, Chinese, Urdu and Bengali. It features a 21-inch touch screen with high-fidelity cameras.
Saudi Arabia is gearing up for organising the first Hajj pilgrimage attended by overseas Muslims for the first time in nearly two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Saudi Arabia said last month it would allow 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom to perform this year’s Hajj, after restricting the annual ritual to some thousands of Muslims living inside the country for the last two years due to COVID-19 outbreak.
Eligible pilgrims this year must be under 65, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a negative PCR test, Saudi authorities have said.
Around 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year before the pandemic.
The robot offers visual services to umrah pilgrims at the Grand Mosque. (Photos: The General Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.