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Saudi Arabia’s Hajj 2023 Expo Promises A High-Tech Pilgrimage

The Saudi Arabian government and private tech companies have shown off the latest solutions to help pilgrims enjoy a smooth experience during their journey.

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saudi arabia's hajj 2023 expo promises a high-tech pilgrimage

Hajj is one of Islam’s most important pilgrimages, with around 2.5 million people making the journey in 2019, before COVID-19 travel restrictions forced officials to limit numbers.

This year, Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah, Minister of Hajj and Umrah, revealed that the number of pilgrims would be allowed to return to pre-pandemic levels. Due to the enormous scale of the annual Mecca festival, Saudi Arabian authorities must do everything in their power to ensure everything runs smoothly and safely.

During the Hajj Expo 2023, service providers from various fields came together to demonstrate their solutions, many of which involved emerging technologies.

saudi arabia hajj 2023 expo

One of the most notable new developments is the launch of a smartcard which, with the help of the Nusuk foundation, will store a user’s personal, residential, and health information in the Nusuk app. In addition, artificial intelligence (AI) will also help with “everything from performing the rituals to leaving the holy sites and the Kingdom”. Last week, the Saudi government announced that registrations would open on the ministry’s website and the Nusuk application.

Along with official service providers, private companies also exhibited their solutions. The Tawkeel application was created by a Saudi-based tech startup and aims to help pilgrims “delegate rituals”. Often, worshippers cannot travel to Mecca due to disabilities or financial reasons. The new app will allow those people to track the progress of the person performing rituals on their behalf and can also be used to ask them to recite specific prayers.

Also Read: New Tech Allows Faster Breast Cancer Detection In Middle East

Due to the scale of the event, Hajj officials often have to deal with severe accidents, including stampedes and crushes that have injured hundreds or even thousands of people. With that in mind, Tuwaiq ambulance showcased their latest vehicle, capable of evacuating 10 patients during an emergency, complete with onboard oxygen and medical supplies.

As well as emergency vehicles, site infrastructure also needs careful consideration. This year’s event will see the addition of 25 km of new ring roads around the site, which will link “the First Ring Road with the Masar project and the Makkah Reconstruction and Development project”, according to Saleh Al Rasheed, chief executive of the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites.

The Hajj expo 2023 has shown how seriously the Kingdom is taking digital transformation. This year’s pilgrimage is shaping up to be more technologically advanced than ever before, blending traditional and modern values without diluting the importance of this sacred event.

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Initial Trials Of Dubai’s Driverless Evocargo Trucks Completed

Testing was announced on July 17, and the completion is a major milestone towards upgrading the region’s logistics infrastructure.

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initial trials of dubai's driverless evocargo trucks completed
Dubai Media Office

A Dubai-based company has completed the initial trials for the UAE’s first driverless trucks. The groundbreaking achievement by Evocargo, partnering with Dubai South, took place at Dubai South Logistics District, and marked a significant step towards incorporating autonomous technologies into the region’s wider logistics infrastructure.

Announced on Wednesday, July 17th, the trials featured the Evocargo N1 unmanned electric truck navigating a predetermined route within a controlled setting. The test involved interactions with common road obstacles such as cars, trucks, and pedestrians, aiming to evaluate the vehicle’s hardware and software reliability, accident prevention systems, and overall readiness for public road use.

Officials were keen to highlight that this accomplishment aligns with the UAE’s ambitious strategy to position itself as a global leader in innovation and technology adoption. The country aims to have 25% of all transportation in Dubai autonomous by 2030, underscoring its commitment to revolutionizing the logistics sector using advanced technologies.

Mohsen Ahmad, CEO of the Logistics District at Dubai South, emphasized the importance of the collaboration with Evocargo in enhancing the region’s logistics capabilities. He noted that autonomous vehicles are set to increase efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and establish a sustainable logistics infrastructure that will benefit both Dubai and the wider UAE.

Also Read: Riyadh Developers Reveal New 45,000-Seat Murabba Stadium

Ahmed Al-Ansi, CEO of Evocargo Autonomous Logistic Services, also expressed optimism that the trials will draw new customers and investments across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The partnership aims to lead in innovative tech solutions, further establishing the UAE as a pioneer in autonomous transportation.

The successful completion of the trials marks a crucial step towards realizing the UAE’s vision for a technologically advanced and sustainable future in which autonomous vehicles are expected to play a pivotal role in global logistics.

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