A Royal delegation arrived from the Riyadh Province, headed by its Vice Governor, Prince Muhammad bin Abdel-Rahman al Saud, visited Skolkovo and studied the new products of six residents of the Foundation.

The high-ranking Saudi delegation came to Moscow at the invitation of the Moscow Mayor's Office; on the eve of the visit to the Innovation Town, the honoured guests were received by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin. A report on the Moscow Mayor’s Office website says that the main topic of negotiations concerned the exchange of experience in the area of transport infrastructure.

In particular, the delegation visited the Center for Traffic Management, toured the Moscow Central Ring and historic downtown Metro stations, and traveled via the cable car from Luzhniki Stadium to Vorobyovy Heights.

Vice Governor of Riyadh to Promobot: “Nice to meet you.” Photo: Sk.ru


Continuing their study of the achievements of the Russian transport system, the representatives of the Saudi capital province traveled from downtown Moscow to Skolkovo aboard the recently opened high-speed electric train. The guests were welcomed by Kirill Kaem, the Foundation’s Senior Vice President for Innovation, who explained to them, the concept of the Skolkovo ecosystem.

However, the first to shake Prince Mohammad bin Abdel-Rahman al Saud’s hand was Promobot, a robot of the Skolkovo Company of the same name. His Royal Highness asked the co-founder of the company Oleg Kivokurtsev if the robot spoke Arabic (the Prince and the Promobot spoke in English), and learned that the robots that had already been delivered to Saudi Arabia, could indeed speak Arabic.

With some hesitation, the Prince asked if the robot could shake his hand. After the Promobot held out its hand, the Vice Governor of Riyadh said: “Nice to meet you”.

The Prince then met and spoke with the management of Skolkovo and the heads of six Skolkovo companies. In addition to Promobot, these were VisionLabs, CityAir, Big Three, SODIS and Lab Atlas. Some of them are already working with Saudi Arabia; all of those invited to the meeting had expressed keen interest in such cooperation. 

Kirill Kaem, Skolkovo's Senior Vice President for Innovation, with Prince Muhammad bin Abdel-Rahman al Saud. Photo: Sk.ru 


According to Alexander Khanin, CEO of VisionLabs (one of the global leaders in face recognition technology). His company currently has many projects in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia: “We have an employee who is based in Dubai, from where he has been working with companies all across the region. In Saudi Arabia, we can use the experience that we have gained in Russia and in the countries of Southeast Asia - and make our contribution to cities, airports and transport infrastructure facilities. “We are currently working on many pilot projects in Saudi Arabia,” he told Sk.ru

Alexander Khanin (VisionLabs): “We are currently working on quite a few pilot projects in Saudi Arabia” Photo: Sk.ru


A representative of the Moscow Mayor's Office who participated in the meeting with the Saudi delegation noted that VisionLabs has been testing its face recognition system at access control points in the city's underground. Before the end of the year, Mr. Khanin says, the Metro system will initiate a program to install biometric technology equipment throughout the Metro network, and his company intends to take part.

Oleg Kivokurtsev, too, talked about his experience of working with Saudi Arabia and the upcoming plans.

“We have partners in Riyadh and in the suburbs of the Saudi capital,” says co-founder of Promobot. “At the moment there are three of our robots working there.” One is being used in a clinic in a Riyadh suburb; one is working in the metropolitan high-tech techno-park where our robot consults visitors; the third is currently at the warehouse of our partners, and they are considering the possibility of using it as an educational stand at one of their universities.

Oleg Kivokurtsev. “The meeting can help us open a window for increasing export to the countries of the Middle East.” Photo: Sk.ru


Overall, we have been trying hard to gain significant presence on the market of Saudi Arabia. They are open to technology similar to that of Promobot, and partners have the finance available for the introduction of such solutions. On our part, we were the first on the market of robot technology to train our robot to speak Arabic.

The head of the Perm-based company said that as of the end of last year, Promobot exported robots to 35 countries, and the Global region with most revenue generating potential was in fact the Middle East.

“The meeting in which we are taking part today can help us increase exports to the countries of the Middle East,” Oleg Kivokurtsev said. “In particular, we wanted to discuss three types of projects with representatives of the Riyadh Municipality. We know that police stations have been closing in Riyadh due to staff shortages; we have a solution for this problem. We would also like to participate in the development of the futuristic city of Neom on the desert coast of the Red Sea. Finally, we would like to offer our robots for use in Saudi medical clinics, which are known for their high level of technical equipment.”