If you’re in Dubai and notice a robot patrolling the streets, you may think you’re watching a movie scene being recorded. But you’re not. That’s Dubai’s newest police officer.
Last week, the Dubai police began an experiment using a robot in its force. The life-sized robot comes equipped not with a weapon but with a touch screen, and will be used mostly at shopping malls and tourist attractions.
The robot’s face has dark, unblinking eyes but no mouth or nose, and stands 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) tall and weighs 220 lbs (100 kg).
If this robot experiment is successful, Dubai plans to have 25% of its police force be made up of robots by 2030.
The robot cop was introduced at the Gulf Information and Security Expo and Conference in May.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) May 22, 2017
Mohammed Elnakib, a telecommunications manager, was surprised when he was greeted with a “Hi, Mohammed!” from the robot cop. He said, “It was creepy but it is also the future. Then I realized it had read my name tag. This will be a fantastic addition because everything is moving towards doing more with fewer people.”
Last week the roving robot reported for duty on the streets of Dubai to begin the experiment.
Dubai police have enrolled a robotic officer, the first in a unit that aims to make up a quarter of the force by 2030. pic.twitter.com/7ySU9H6hWs
— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 1, 2017
One of the goals of using the robot is to make life more convenient for the people of Dubai. Brig Khalid Al Razooqi, the Dubai Police Director General of Smart Services, stated, “Now most people visit police stations or customer service, but with this tool we can reach the public 24/7 and it won’t ask for any sick leave or maternity leave.”
What the Robot Cop Can Do
While the unarmed robot cannot make arrests, it can perform useful functions such as recognizing faces and license plates. It can use facial recognition to compare faces with a criminal database and detect emotions, such as understanding when someone is upset.
People in Dubai can use the robot’s touch screen to do things such as:
- report a crime
- pay fines
- report lost or found items
- ask for directions and other information
The robot can salute and shake hands with people. So far, the robot can speak in Arabic and English languages. It will soon learn other languages such as Russian, Chinese, French and Spanish.
In addition to having a touch screen, the robot has a camera that can live-stream video to a police command center.
This video shows what the Dubai robot cop can do:
Dubai has plans to expand its robot police force with other types of robots. Within two years, the city plans to use a jumbo robot cop that is 9 ft 8 in (3 m) tall and can run up to 50 mph (80 kmh).
This giant cop would be the world’s largest robot, according to the government of Dubai. It will be able to lift heavy objects and be controlled by a human police officer seated inside.
The city also plans to use an egg-shaped robot to patrol parking lots and issue traffic violations.
Do you like the idea of robot cops? Would you use one? Do you think robot cops will make the world safer and more convenient?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
*Dubai photo courtesy of Trey Ratcliff via Flickr and Creative Commons