The first unit in Dubai’s Robocop program has been rolled now been rolled out. It’s not quite Paul Verhoeven’s satirical vision of baddie-takedowns, though. A customised service robot from Pal Robotics, the wheeled machine’s job is a relatively passive one. It will be posted in malls and tourist attractions, and people can use the touchscreen embedded in its chest to report crime, pay fines, and get information.
“This is the official launch of our first Robocop,” Brig Khalid Al Razooqi, Dubai Police director general of smart services, said in a statement. “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.”
There’s a little more to the robot than a friendly neighbourhood help desk, though. It also has built-in cameras that will stream video back to the police command centre. And it’s also just the first of a series of police robots. The next batch will be used to tackle crimes, and the police force has plans for a three-metre tall robot piloted by a police officer inside that can travel up to 80kph and carry heavy equipment.
The Dubai police plans to add robots until they make up about 25 percent of the force by 2030. This will not replace the current police force, but allow them to focus their attention on other areas, Brig Al Razooqi said.