Singapore to put more police robots on the streets

By AFP   June 15, 2023 | 03:30 am PT
Singapore to put more police robots on the streets
Autonomous robot Xavier patrols a neighborhoods mall to detect "undesirable social behaviors", such as the flouting of Covid-19 safety measures, smoking in prohibited areas and improperly parked bicycles, during a three-week trial in Singapore September 6, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Edgar Su
Singapore will "progressively deploy" more patrol robots across the city-state, police said Thursday, after more than five years of small-scale trials.

Robots were deployed at Changi Airport's Terminal 4 starting in April "to augment frontline police officers in conducting premises patrol," the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said.

More deployments are expected across the city of 5.6 million people, whose small population and low birth rate mean it has to make use of technology to overcome a lack of manpower.

"The SPF plans to progressively deploy more patrol robots to augment police's operations across Singapore," the SPF said in a statement, without giving a timeline.

The robots are equipped with cameras, sensors, speakers, a display panel, blinkers and a siren.

An extendable mast with a 360-degree camera gives an on-the-ground view to officers in a situation room, and a two-way channel allows them to talk directly with the public.

"The patrol robot is the latest addition to SPF's technological arsenal, capable of autonomous patrol and providing the police with an enhanced situational picture to enable better decision and sense-making," the police said.

Using its blinkers, siren and speakers, the robot can "enforce a cordon or warn bystanders during an incident prior to the arrival" of human police, according to the statement.

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