SINGAPORE HAS a new cop in town, and he’s made of metal.

The unnamed robot has been flexing its pistons at the 33rd Annual Association of South East Asian Nations conference which has just taken place in the city-state.

Betanews reports that the four-wheeled robot is trained to follow a specific route, which it can deviate from to prevent banging into softer things like durian fruit and babies, thanks to some AI obstacle avoidance and some pretty nifty camera tech.

The robots main eye (ok, camera) is on a raised platform and can swivel through 360 degrees, and if necessary send its footage on to the flesh police.

The robot’s launch was designed to send a message to visiting dignitaries that this is a country on the bleeding edge of innovation.

But by degrees, it also wasn’t considered a scary authority figure. In its placid state, taking selfies, or walking and talking with the droid (which really, really needs a name – suggestions welcome) were common, with some saying it was like a big toy.

But what about those times when you need to report something fishy and all you can find is a milk-float with a camcorder on top? Simple. Press the button on his front and he’ll record your statement to send on to the Fleshies.

In Singapore, security staffing is at a premium and its estimated that Robocop here could save S$350 (£198) per 12-hour shift. But, there’s the inevitable catch – that replaces two human officers who will have to go hungry tonight.

Robot cops are nothing new, we’ve featured them before, including one that hated its job so much it tried to top itself, but this one builds on previous models by being more approachable, able to cope with human interactions (as well as not running them over) and that 360 degree camera.

It’s more deterrent than ED209 but nevertheless, the future of the thin blue line is seemingly more and more robotic. μ

Source: The Inquirer