WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
It is inevitable that robots will take a more dominant role in our society and by rolling out the world’s first robot police force Dubai has taken the first big step.
Almost two years after their initial announcement the world’s first robot policeman has officially joined Dubai’s police force. While it’s not exactly the Robocop from the movies the officers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might want to get used to them because, if everything goes according to plan, they may soon account for a quarter of police force.
The autonomous Robocop, which I’ve been tracking for a while now, and which I spoke about at my recent keynote in Dubai, came on active duty earlier this week by greeting guests and patrolling the halls at the three day Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC), and then it was moved to take up residence in the Mall of Dubai, the world’s largest mall on Tuesday
“With an aim to assist and help people in the malls or on the streets, the Robocop is the latest smart addition to the force and has been designed to help us fight crime, keep the city safe and improve happiness levels,” said Brigadier-General Khalid Nasser Al Razzouqi, Director-General of Smart Services with the Dubai Police, “he can chat and interact, respond to public queries, shake hands and offer a military salute,” he added.
Standing at a height of 5 feet, 5 inches (1.7 meters) and weighing in at 220lbs (100kg), the Robocop can read a person’s facial expressions and react accordingly in six languages. It can also transmit and receive messages from police, and has a built-in tablet that can be used to pay fines and report crimes. But, if you think that that’s all there is to the rather comical mall addition then you’ll have to think again – it’s also been equipped with the latest machine vision technology which allows it to identify criminals on sight, and, with new “pre-crime” technologies starting to appear on the market it might not be too long before it begins apprehending people before they even commit crimes…
“The launch of the world’s first operational Robocop is a significant milestone for the Emirate and a step towards realizing Dubai’s vision to be a global leader in smart cities technology adoption,” said Brigadier-General Razzouqi.
The models, which were first unveiled at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in 2015, are a central part of Dubai’s plan to create the city of the future and which has already seen it make investments in a new 3D printed skyscrapers, Hyperloop networks, flying taxis and autonomous transport, and, again, if everything goes according to plan, which it normally does in Dubai the Emirate will also be the first country to introduce new police stations that are entirely manned by robots.