Singapore started trialing autonomous patrol robots in public areas to discourage poor social behavior. Two robots in one of the safest countries in the world do it all. From smoking in no-smoking areas, wrong parking to flouting COVID-19 safety measures. Read to know all about this new development.
What do these patrol robots do?
The two patrol robots, called Xavier have cameras that scan their surroundings for bad social behavior. It then sends out real-time alerts to its command and control centers. At present, these robots are in a three-week trial, in an area in central Singapore with high foot traffic. The robots are used for surveillance and educating the public on good behavior with messages.
What if someone gets caught smoking in a no-smoking zone? Their video is first sent to the command and control center. It is then fed into a video analytics system that recognizes key indicators such as posture, cigarette in mouth, etc. The robot then blares a pre-recorded “Please do not smoke in prohibited areas such as covered walkways.”
More on safety and surveillance in Singapore
According to an official statement, these robots won’t be used for law enforcement during the trial. “The deployment of Xavier will support the work of public officers. It will reduce the manpower required for foot patrols and improve operation efficiency,” reported the agency. Additionally, K Shanmugam, the home affairs minister in August declared that the city-state will have over 20,000 police cameras by 2030. This is more than twice the current number of cameras across Singapore.
Currently, the robot aims to look out for illegal hawkers, errant smokers, e-scooter, and motorcyclists on footpaths. It also looks for large gatherings than the currently allowed group size. The robot is under multiple agencies— Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), Land Transport Authority (LTA), National Environment Agency, and National Environment Agency, Singapore Food Agency, and Housing Board.