That’s just not fair! I’d totally watch the Kentucky Derby if C-3P0 and the Terminator were racing horses, but in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the popular sport of camel racing relies on remote controlled robot jockeys. So cool!

The sport of racing camels is incredibly popular throughout the Middle East, but unfortunately the sport’s inherent coolness is tarnished when you realize that the vast majority of the camel jockeys are children who are trafficked from Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, India and beyond to be forced to participate in this dangerous sport. Thankfully, the UAE and Qatar banned the use of child jockeys, (in 2002 and 2005, respectively), and replaced the kids with lightweight robots.

Replacing abused child slaves with camel riding machines is a win-win for everyone, as far less children end up living in horrible conditions in camel farms, and the camel owners enjoy the fact that the lightweight robots are giving the camels the fastest race times of all time. As an added bit of spectacle to the robot powered races, you’ll notice a caravan of jeeps driving alongside the animal athletes. Each vehicle holds a driver and robot controller, who monitors the camel’s vitals and controls the robot’s whipping actions. These robot centered dromedary camel races are a fascinating alternative to the vile practice of using child slaves, and I certainly hope that the use of computerized riders catches on in other areas, such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Now if only robot riding hippopotamus polo became a thing in the United States…

Sources: TGD, New Scientist

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