Singapore has deployed robots to patrol public areas


Singapore is known for having stringent laws for having surveillance cameras all over the city-state. In the future, it may also deploy robots to keep an eye out for rule breakers — in fact, Singapore has started testing a robot named Xavier, putting a couple of them to work by having them patrol survey a public area with high foot traffic. Over the next three weeks, the robots will monitor the crowds of Toa Payoh Central to look for what the nation’s authorities describe as “undesirable social behaviors.” Those bad behaviors include the “congregation of more than five people,” which goes against its COVID-19 safety measures.

In addition, the Xavier robots will look for instances of smoking in prohibited areas illegal hawking. It will patrol the vicinity for improperly parked bicycles for any mobility device motorcycle using footpaths sidewalks, as well. If the robot detects any of those behaviors, it will alert its commcenter then display a corresponding message on its screen to educate the public.

The machines are equipped with cameras capable of providing their commcenter with 360-degree views. They’re also capable of capturing images in dim lighting using IR low-light cameras. Plus, the video they capture will be analyzed by an AI system to look for anything that may require human officers’ response. To enable the machines to navigate the city autonomously, they’re fitted with sensors that give them the ability to avoid both stationary moving objects, including pedestrians vehicles.

Singapore already announced its plans to double the number of its surveillance cameras to 200,000 over the next decade. Officials believe these robots can help augment those surveillance measures further, though, reduce the need for officers to do physical patrols. 

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