Hajj 2023: Artificial intelligence to be deployed for crowd management – Director of Public Security

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Artificial intelligence algorithms are to be developed and rolled out across Saudi Arabia to help crowd management and streamline services for pilgrims visiting holy sites in the Kingdom, the second edition of the Global AI Summit in Riyadh heard.



Lieutenant General Mohammed Al-Bassami, Director of Public Security at the Saudi Ministry of Interior, made the announcement during the panel ‘Holistic Adoption of AI Technology’ at the Summit, held under the patronage of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the official Saudi news agency (SPA), reported on Thursday.



Lt. Gen. Bassami discussed the Kingdom’s crowd management as huge numbers of citizens, residents, and visitors flock every year to the two holy mosques.


Approximately 2.5 million pilgrims typically visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long Hajj.


The lieutenant said efforts are developing to increase the capacity to receive visitors and pilgrims, in line with the targets of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, with upgraded services driven by cutting-edge technology.


He said a massive effort requires countless man-hours and an army of personnel working around the clock to provide the best possible service for visitors to the Kingdom’s holy sites.

AI, he said, is a tool to ensure the quality of those services.


He added that AI technologies introduced recently at the two holy mosques have been helping keep crowds under control as they enter and leave thanks to faster decision-making, while ensuring that no more than the right number of people are present anywhere around the sites at any given time.


Thanks to these technologies, any crowd-related contingencies can be dealt with swiftly and with little disruption, he said.


Dr. Majed Altuwaijri, Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Artificial Intelligence (NCAI), said that the cooperation comes as part of NCAI’s efforts to develop AI solutions for applications across various national sectors.


Lt. Gen. Bassami pointed out that the Ministry of Interior, under the guidance of HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, has multiple plans in place to manage crowds and move people in and out of the two holy mosques with real-time monitoring. He added that AI enables enhanced coordination and integration among many agencies to achieve the overall goal of making the pilgrimage experience smoother and safer.


The second edition of the Global AI Summit kicked off Tuesday morning in the Saudi capital Riyadh, bringing together various stakeholders and academics to discuss the future of artificial intelligence and the Kingdom’s contribution to this field.



The Global AI Summit kicks off at the Saudi capital Riyadh, September 13, 2022. (Twitter)


Over 200 speakers representing 90 countries have come together for the global summit at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center.


The Global AI Summit, organized by Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA), is touching on topics such as the impact of AI on the public and private sectors, healthcare, environment, transportation, smart cities and culture among other matters.


The Summit will conclude Thursday.



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