A tiny robot called Xavier is urging people to wear masks.
Singapore officials have deployed two new robot cops known as Xavier to patrol the streets and look for signs of trouble.
Reuters reports that the two autonomous robots are primarily interested in bad behavior. The Singapore's Home Team Science and Technology Agency announced the launch of the program on Sunday. They stated that the Xaviers were programmed to spot violations such as improperly parked bikes and public smoking and COVID protocol violations. This last statement implies that robots are equipped with facial recognition technology to detect when someone removes their mask, adding another layer of public surveillance to an already highly-monitored country.
The public trial of the wheeled robots is currently underway, and their duties are much more limited than RoboCop. The robots will not be involved in any law enforcement activities, such as chasing down and apprehending suspects. According to Reuters, the robots look more like heavy-duty delivery robots than Peter Wellers' iconic cyborg. They use their cameras to alert people nearby and to raise concerns for human cops. Officials hope the robots will be used to assist law enforcement officers and not replace them.
Xavier could enhance our enforcement presence and deter errant activity mobility behavior on footpaths. This was stated by Calvin Ng, Director of Enforcement and Compliance Management at Land Transport Authority. It could provide intelligence about hotspots and areas where active mobility abusers have been detected, which could help us focus our physical enforcement efforts.
READ MORE: Singapore trial robots for patrolling to discourage bad behavior [Reuters]
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