Singapore to roll out (literally) more Robocops
Stop! Or I'll move very slowly towards you and stream video to HQ
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) plans to ramp up its use of robot officers, according to local media on Thursday.
The Straits Times reported that after five years of trials and smaller-scale roll-outs of similar autonomous mobile surveillance systems, robot patrols will be "progressively deployed across Singapore."
The city-state is no stranger to using patrol robots. They were first deployed for security purposes at a parade in 2018. They became a not uncommon sight during COVID, as they patrolled places like housing estates and shopping malls looking for social distancing offenders.
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Singapore even trained Boston Dynamics's "SPOT" robodog to roam around a park to remind visitors to stop mingling. The robodogs were also trialed to carry medicines in hospitals.
The Reg has not heard how patients responded to robotic quadrupeds appearing on the wards, but suggests South Korea's less intimidating Keemi bot might pose less of a risk to patients' hearts.
Singapore has also used patrol robots at Changi airport for traffic enforcement since June 2019.
Since April 2023, two more austere-looking autonomous robots – based on the Multi-purpose All Terrain Autonomous Robot 2.0 and 3.0 – have roamed the airport's Terminal 4. The bots boast rotating cameras, flashing lights, sirens and 2.3-meter extendable masts.
Police can communicate directly with the public through the robots' speakers, or tune in to live-streamed video footage that is stored in an operations room for 30 days.
One of the perks of using robot patrols during COVID was that it did not put human law enforcement at risk of getting sick. Now that social distancing measures and masks are mostly gone on the city-state, Singapore has decided the additional eyes remain relevant. ®