Singapore Deploys Police Robots to Break up Gatherings of More than 5 People

Xavier robot, Yutube
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Singapore has deployed a robot for a three-week test in a residential town in Singapore. ‘Xavier’ the robot will survey crowds to detect “undesirable social behavior” including: congregation of more than five people which is said to be against “safe management measures”, smoking in prohibited areas, illegal hawking, improperly parked bicycles, and using motorized devices and motorcycles on footpaths. If the robot detects such behavior, it will send real-time alerts to the command center and deliver appropriate messages to “deter” such behaviors. The only thing missing is lethal force. Critics are confident that is coming next. -GEG

Slowly but surely, the world is transforming into a 1984-Robocop-Terminator-Minority ReportJudge Dredd fusion dystopia.

And while we wait for Elon Musk’s dancing humanoid robot (wonder how much the deposit on that particular pipe dream will be), Singapore is wasting no time, and according to Mothership the small Asian nation is deploying ground robots on trial to patrol and survey a public area with high foot traffic, in a joint project involving five of the country’s public agencies: HTX (Home Team Science and Technology Agency), National Environment Agency, Land Transport Authority, Singapore Food Agency, and Housing & Development Board.

According to a media release, an HTX robot will be deployed for a three-week period from Sep. 5 to patrol Toa Payoh Central, a planning area and matured residential town located in the northern part of the Central Region of Singapore

The robot(s), called Xavier, will weave its way autonomously through the crowds to detect “undesirable social behaviors” including:

  • Congregation of more than five people (in line with prevailing Safe Management Measures)
  • Smoking in prohibited areas
  • Illegal hawking
  • Improperly parked bicycles within HDB Hub
  • Motorized active mobility devices and motorcycles on footpaths

Upon detecting any of these terrifying activities, the robot will trigger real-time alerts to the command and control center, and display the appropriate message (depending on the scenario) to educate the public and “deter” such behaviors. The deployment of the ground robot is intended to support the work of public officers and reduce the manpower required for foot patrols.

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