Abu Dhabi is about to begin production on humanoid robots that could eventually completely replace human workers in malls and exhibition centers. The life-size robots are currently being developed by Barcelona-based PAL Robotics, a company under the umbrella of the Abu Dhabi based Royal Group.

With plans for a factory in which a dozen robots will be produced per month, PAL Robotics has already debuted the final product REEM, a 1.65m humanoid robot, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, where an order for 20 robots has already been made.

PAL Robotics marketing manager Jorien Guijs told Arabian Business:

At the moment REEM is prepared for use at exhibition centres and shopping malls. In the future we will focus as well on the healthcare sector, airports, museums and other public spaces.

REEM comes equipped with a navigation system and a touch screen, and it can be used as a guide, with features including face tracking and recognition, and a small platform to transfer luggage and heavy objects, as well as the ability to conduct video calls through the robot’s touch screen. One REEM will set buyers back about €200,000 ($269,157) each.

PAL Robotics has published a set of photos showing REEM’s different features, and how it looks in its habitat:

robot 520x348 Humanoid robots will be roaming Abu Dhabis malls next year

The introduction of humanoid robots in Abu Dhabi has has been the cause of some debate, with the accusation that their use has more to do with PR than convenience or customer service, while others question the idea of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a robot that will essentially put someone out of a job, particularly low-skilled workers earning minimum wage.

To see REEM in action, check out PAL Robotics’ video below: