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UQU - Wadi Makkah on Autonomous Transporter for Carrying Pilgrims to Perform Tawaf & Saie

Wadi Makkah Company is an Investment joint stock Company fully owned by Umm Al Qura University (UQU). Masjid al-Haram, located in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, is a sacred place for Muslims to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) and ibadah (worship). Tawaf and saie are among the pillars of Hajj, which is the act of circling Kaabah (Tawaf) and travelling to and fro between Safa and Marwah. During Hajj season, the massive crowd of the pilgrims increases from year to year. The crowd control are critical in order to have the pilgrims move in a smooth flow. During tawaf & saie, elderly and disabled pilgrims are having difficulties to walk due to their health conditions. Commonly they are either pushed on wheel chairs or driven in electric scooters. However, accidents are prone to happen among the wheelchairs or scooters with the walking pilgrims and this can cause injury.

The problem to highlight is to improvise the congestion flow during performing tawaf and saie, and better facilities for the less capable pilgrims (e.g. elderly and disabled). Current existing wheelchairs and electric scooters do not propose any synchronised traffic flow control among the vehicles and pedestrians and prone to have collision with the pedestrians and other vehicles. Another contributing factor for accidents with existing vehicle is because users are inexperienced drivers. Thus, the objectives of the proposed project is to develop a single-seater electric buggy prototype that is capable of autonomous navigation within the Haram Sharif.

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