Dubai, the self-proclaimed “Future City,” is getting its own unit of autonomous, drone-launching robotic police vehicles, because what’s more future than than Robocops?
The city’s police force will be the first in the world to roll out Singapore startup Otsaw Digital’s O-R3 autonomous robot, according to a report from the Gulf News spotted by The Verge. The self-driving, self-charging electric bots might be small — the Gulf News compared the size of the O-R3 to an electric kiddie car — but they purportedly boast a suite of features that could make them formidable security guards once they start rolling a beat.
Most notably, Dubai’s O-R3 units will use “biometric detecting software” to identify people who are wanted by the police or observed committing crimes as “undesirables,” alerting human officers so they can take action.
The AI controlling the bot can detect and dodge obstacles — and when it hits its limits, it can launch a companion drone to follow after an escaping perp. Check out a controlled demo of the system below:
Director of the Smart Services Department of the Dubai Police, Brigadier Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, told Gulf News that the feed from the O-R3’s cameras will be linked to an internal command room, where human officers will monitor the footage collected on patrols.
The city’s police force will roll out the new bots soon, with active patrols slated to start before the end of the year at tourist destinations around the city, according to Al Razooqi.
Dubai’s law enforcement efforts first embraced AI with its adoption of PAL Robotics’ REEM robot, an ineffectual-looking Robocop wannabe that made the rounds at the Dubai Mall during the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference back in May. That android looks like it’ll serve a more a public-facing civil servant role, while the O-R3 patrols could actually help the police force identify and corral lawbreakers.
The self-driving patrols join Dubai’s already impressive autonomous aspirations. The city is projected to be the first in the world to launch a pilot-free flying taxi service later this year, too, and Uber’s flying car initiative plans to introduce a working prototype and possibly even passenger flights to Dubai airspace by 2020.