Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit: PAL Robotics

Dubai hopes to have a human-free police station by 2030

The first of many robot police officers is ready.
1426 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

PAL Robotics

Is robot policing the way of the future? Dubai is well on its way to finding out.

The emirate, one of seven in the UAE, is taking a technological leap of faith this week as it introduces its first robot officer to the Dubai police force. Designed by the Spanish company PAL Robotics, the specialized REEM robot stands 5 feet 6 inches high and looks like a knight in shining white plastic armor, riding in on its wheels (rather than a horse).

This is just the first step for the Dubai police department. The department aims to have 25 percent of its police force composed of robot officers by the year 2030. "We are looking to make everything smart in Dubai Police. By 2030, we will have the first smart police station which won't require human employees," Brigadier Khalid Nasserl Al Razouqi, the General Director of Dubai Police's Smart Services Department, told Gulf News.

What can the robot police officer do? The prototype unveiled last year at GITEX, an annual Dubai-based electronics trade show, was basically a glorified kiosk, complete with a touch screen interface. Using an integrated tablet on the robot's midsection, people could report crimes, submit paperwork, and pay fines for traffic violations. It's unclear how or if the robot has been upgraded since then, though Dubai police were working with Watson, IBM's AI system, on voice command recognition. Eventually, the department plans on using the robots as full-fledged police officers.

But does "smart," the term the Dubai Police Department uses to describe their new robot initiative, mean better? It isn't clear how the public will react to a robot police officer. Will people trust a robot more implicitly, assuming it won't have the same biases human officers have? It's also possible people might feel uncomfortable approaching a robot to report a crime, leading to underreporting.

While there are questions surrounding Dubai's implementation of its robot officer, it's clear that other countries will be watching Dubai's experiment closely as they weigh the pros and cons of their own robotic police force.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1426 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

View
Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

View
Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

View
Uber sues NYC over vehicle caps

Uber sues NYC over vehicle caps

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr