Dubai Considers Robocop

Saudi royalty was checking out the robot-cops at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), Dubai’s annual computer and electronic trade show.


(GITEX exhibition in Dubai prototype robot-cop)

The prototype can scan faces and was equipped with a touchscreen which can be used to report a crime and process fines for traffic violations. Best of all, it can salute and shake hands — a feat other existing police robots can’ really do since they lack the hands to do so.

The robot cop is still in bootcamp, so to speak, with Dubai Police looking to add AI technology that will allow it to “spot people from 10 meters or 20 meters away, approach them and greet them,” explained Major Adnan Ali, Technical Innovations Department Head, last June. They are working with IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, and Google to add a virtual assistant system to allow the robot to follow voice commands.

This Russian "robokopa" still has quite a way to go before he can start to compete with fictional police robots - like the experimental robot cop from Harry Harrison's excellent 1958 story Arm of the Law:

Experimental or not, this was a nice-looking hunk of machinery. A uniform navy-blue all over, though the outlet cases, hooks and such were a metallic gold... This was as close as a robot could get to a cop in uniform, without being a joke.

Then I noticed the tiny glow of light in the robot's eye lenses...

"Get out of that box," I said.

The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket, landing two feet in front of me and whipping out a snappy salute.
(Read more about the police experimental robot)

I think that this mechanized "officer" falls into the general category of security guard robots - see First Chinese Security Guard Robot, Rotundus And Rover: Robotic And Fictional Guardians and Banryu Guard Dragon Home Robot (that's one little bot I'd like to see take to the streets!).

And of course, we remember this guy.


(Robocop, from the 1987 movie starring Peter Weller)

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