Dubai has been at the bleeding edge of emerging and disruptive technology throughout 2016 and 2017. Their presence in these markets was highlighted through the Smart Dubai 2017 project.
Their latest project is no exception to this trend. Dubai recently published a press release regarding their first robotic police officer. The unit holds a touchscreen in its chest and offers customer service to citizens to free up time for human officers to carry out other tasks.
What does the robotic officer do?
The robotic police office from Dubai carries out normal tasks such as customer service and area monitoring. By reducing the workload on their officers, the city of Dubai is hoping to allow officers to focus on other areas. Though the machine currently has limited capabilities, it can still be used to attend to citizens and potentially minor crimes in the future as well.
Future police officers will likely make use of performance enhancing suits, enabling them to run at speeds up to 80 km/h and carry heavy equipment, according to this Dubai news post. These objectives may seem lofty now, but at the rate robotics and other disruptive technologies are progressing, many of the moonshots targeted in the last few years have been brought to fruition in some form or another.
What does this mean for public safety?
Reducing the workload of law enforcement officers is an integral part of improving public safety, especially in the event of a high stress scenario. While this suit isn’t a terminator-esque killing machine, it still serves a number of purposes, ranging from intelligence collection to timely attentiveness to citizen services.
How will this impact the role of law enforcement in coming times?
Dubai plans to either outfit or replace 25% of their officers with robots by 2030, so in addition to reduced workload, police operators can also expect to be supported in the field by robots or their counterparts within robotic chassis. Either scenario should enhance productivity and ability to keep the peace.
As robots continue to develop and expand their abilities, they seem likely to take over some of the more minor roles of police officers such as attending to the needs of citizens and responding to misdemeanor offenses.
How will this impact daily life for citizens?
An enhanced police force translates to safer streets and higher probability of recognizing threats before it is too late. Dubai has announced their intent to pursue facial recognition software for use with these robots in order to further progress the efficiency of the machines. They also intend to deploy machines to deal with misdemeanors and other crimes within the next few years.
Robotic police officers still seem far from ready to operate in the field, but they are making strides in their progression. Artificial intelligence recently conquered one of its largest expected hurdles, overcoming the number one Chinese Go grandmaster in the world. Blockchain technology is reducing the time required to carry out transactions, and unpowered exosuits are entering a pilot test as a result of partnerships between Virginia Tech and Lowe's Innovation Labs.
These robotic police officers serve several purposes, but among the most important of those reasons are reducing the workload for officers of the law, increasing civilian satisfaction by addressing and responding to their needs and concerns, and helping to maintain order even in particularly troublesome situations.