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Qatar could create robot clouds to cool World Cup watchers

By Brian Walker, CNN
  • World Cup comes to Qatar in 2022
  • Saud Ghani of Qatar University said he plans to make a prototype of the robot cloud
  • The robot cloud will be used to create shade

(CNN) -- Researchers at Qatar University's engineering school have come up with a novel way to cool the stadiums ahead of the 2022 World Cup... giant flying saucers!

Actually, they have announced plans to develop giant artificial remotely controlled "clouds" made up of high-tech materials that will be positioned between the blistering sun and the still-to-be-built football stadiums in the Gulf emirate.

Dr. Saud Ghani, head of a Mechanical and Industrial Engineering group at Qatar University, tells CNN that the artificial robotic cloud could potentially drop the temperatures on the pitch by 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

That's a big deal in a country where temperatures in summer regularly soar into triple-digits Fahrenheit -- the very time the 2022 tournament is expected to take place.

Ghani says that the design has passed the initial engineering phase and his team plan to make a 4-by-3 meter prototype by the end of this year to test the concept.

Qatar: Robo-clouds to cool World Cup

The finished product would be a rectangle made up of carbon fiber and solar panels the size of a jumbo jet. It would use sophisticated monitoring gear to track the transit of the sun and would use four electric powered engines to maneuver to the precisely the right position to drop a cool shade across the stadiums.

Ghani believes that the technology could also be useful in security and communications. Radio and camera transmitters could help facilitate wireless communication and provide an eye-in-the-sky for broadcasters or security forces.

His team eventually hopes to construct the helium-filled devices in Qatar, and the final price for each unit could be as low as $500,000, Ghani predicted.