Singapore is conducting a 3-week trial of two independent “robots” that monitor the public for “unwanted social behavior”, such as smoking. in restricted areas and not follow the coronavirus restrictions.
The two robots are named Xavier and are a pair of robots equipped with 360-degree cameras and sensors that allow them to navigate public spaces and investigate potential public safety violations.
According to a press release from Home Team Science and Technology, if Xavier detects unwanted activity, it will alert a general employee control center, where police can respond in person or in remote via an interactive bot interface. Xavier has been tested by five government agencies in Singapore.
“The deployment of the robots would complement our monitoring and enforcement efforts,” said Lilly Ling, director of the Singapore Food Agency’s Eastern Regional Office.
“Deploying robotic technology can improve these operations and reduce the need for our personnel to conduct physical patrols,” he added.
During the 3-week beta launch in Toa Payoh Central, a high-traffic residential area, robots will look for five specific behaviors: park in wrong way bicycles, smoking in non-designated areas, street vendors, and banning the use of motorcycles and other motor vehicles in crosswalks, or violating COVID-19 safety requirements for groups of more than five people.
This is Singapore’s second attempt to implement social laws such as Corona restrictions through automated monitoring, as the government began in May 2020, using Boston Dynamics robotic dogs to patrol public parks and maintain social distancing.
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