Several months ago we reported on a new kind of security guard. Already seen roaming about Silicon Valley business campuses, the K5 was promoted as a sentient droid whose capabilities would include detecting unusual activity outside of business hours and other such tasks as an assistant to their human counterparts. Now, Dubai police are taking this idea a step further.
Dubai has become a tourist hotspot, and with the rise in tourism came a rise in criminal activity. Police are now turning to AI technology to help in their day-to-day patrols. A prototype was introduced to guests at the fourth annual Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on May 22, 2017. Reuters reports that if their “Robocop” experiment is successful then Dubai police hope that the robots will comprise as much as 25 percent of their patrolling police force by 2030.
The “Robocops” will not be armed but will be able to use facial recognition technology to determine if a person has an outstanding warrant, recognize facial expressions, and read license plates. The bot’s live video feed will also assist its human counterparts in monitoring suspicious activity.
Additionally, the “Robocop” will serve as a valuable tool to the public. Speaking as many as six different languages, citizens will be able to report a crime in progress and will be able to use a built-in touchscreen interface to file a police report.
This technology has been made possible by a Barcelona-based robotics company named PAL Robotics. The “Robocop,” which is based on their REEM humanoid service robot, is advertised as,
“… a full-size humanoid service robot that will make your events and conferences different. She can be a receptionist, entertain and compliment your guests, provide dynamic information and even make presentations and speeches in many languages.”
The customizable nature of the droid allows for police to program in their own features, taking the bot’s capabilities beyond the company’s initial intent.
While it’s been acknowledged that the robot will not be able to make arrests, Dubai Police believe that the bot will be a valuable asset to their team. Brigadier Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, director general of the Smart Services Department at Dubai Police told Routers, “These kind of robots can work 24/7. They won’t ask you for leave, sick leave or maternity leave. It can work around the clock.”
In a society obsessed with the latest in smart technology, thus far the robot’s introduction has been warmly received. Stationed outside of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, many tourists were seen interacting with the “Robocop” and taking selfies. While some may have reservations about the latest in police technology, it would seem that “Robocops” like REEM and the K5 are here for good.