'Robistas' to firefighters: meet the five robots of the future

The robista - a robot coffee maker that can serve a flat white in minutes - is only one of five eye-catching technologies on display at Abu Dhabi's unmanned system conference

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From a "robista" to a robotic force that can attack an enemy, Abu Dhabi’s Unmanned Systems Exhibition and Conference (Umex) has showcased some of the world's most cutting-edge technology.

Here are five of the most eye-catching robots on display at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre:

The robista

A state-of-the-art robot that can prepare every kind of coffee, from a simple espresso to an ice latte in about three minutes, was star of the show.

The robista has a pricetag of Dh350,000 and promises to completely change the way coffee is prepared.

“This fills a need,” said Eisa Al Khoor of BeyondX for Artificial Intelligence Technologies, which designed the robot. “You can’t make a person work 24/7 but you can make a robot work 24/7.”

The six-legged heavy-lifter

In the centre of the conference hall was one of the largest robots in the world: a six-legged yellow behemoth that can carry a hefty 1,000 kilograms over challenging terrain.

Dr Hamad Karki, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Khalifa University, spent about half a million dirhams and countless hours to create the “hexapod”.

“It can go to places that humans cannot go to,” he said.

“I need around a year to get all the legs working and then I will start working on making it smarter.”

Robot fireman

Another piece of defence technology on display was a robotic fireman. The RS3 is used by both Abu Dhabi Civil Defence and the US Army.

Its nozzle shoots out about 9,400 litres of water per minute and can reach a distance of 50 kilometres.

It is one of the most powerful and durable pieces of equipment used to fight fires. It has a large fan to combat flames and absorb smoke and can be controlled by a controller from up to a kilometre away.

“This does not replace the human resources but it can go to areas that are difficult for us to reach,” said fireman Ali Al Hussaisai of Abu Dhabi Civil Defence.

The device can withstand temperatures of more than 200°C and a front shovel can remove large obstacles.

“The next step would be sending them to fires on their own but currently it still needs a controller,” he said.

Robot targets from Marathon Target Australia. Victor Besa / The National

Robot targets for the military

Australian company Marathon Target has created robotic targets for live-fire training.

“This isn’t just a target, it is a smart,” said general manager Stuart Norman.

“These robots communicate, so if you shoot one, the other ones realise that their friend has been shot and can … attack. So, actually, we have created a robotic force.”

The company has also supplied a number of these robots to the UAE's military.

The ZenaDrone

The ZenaDrone 1000 is two metres wide and two metres long and can be used for security, logistics and surveillance.

“We are working with a certain government to supply them with a 100 of these for their airports,” said Sajjad Asif, vice president at ZenaDrone.

The drone can also automatically charge itself.

Umex conference — in pictures

Updated: February 23, 2022, 8:58 AM
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