First Robocop to Join Dubai Police Force

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In the 80’s, the idea of a video call was crazy, cool, impossible and something we could only watch in movies like we did in “Back to the Future.” A couple of years later, technology and many scientific advances have progressively made such dreams possible. Now we not only chat over video on many platforms and from different devices, but now we also got a glimpse of what the future could look like when robots become police officers.

Robocop becomes reality

That’s right, the time for the Robocop to leave the sci-fi land and enter reality… or sort of. A couple of years ago, Dubai’s police promised that for 2017 they would have enlisted their first robot police officer, and they have delivered. Built by the Spanish robotics company PAL Robotics, the police officer, known as REEM, was introduce to the public during the Gulf Information Security and Expo Conference.

كالعادة شرطة دبي تسابق الزمن … صورة مع اول شرطي ألي أطلقته شرطة دبي ويستطيع الشرطي الالي المزوّد بنظام ذكاءٍ اصطناعي وجهاز كشفٍ للمشاعر وحركة الأجسام التعرّف على الإيماءات وإشارات اليد عن بعد يصل حتى 1,5 متر تماماً مثل رجل الشرطة البشري فيما يمكنه رصد تعابير السعادة والحزن والابتسام على وجوه الناس وتغيير تعابيره وطريقة تحيّته لتعزيز الطمأنينة والراحة في نفوس الأشخاص الذين يتعاملون معه. وأثناء قيامه بالدوريات في شوارع المدينة سيقوم الشرطي الآلي بتسخير حلول إنترنت الأشياء والذكاء الاصطناعي وأحدث التقنيات الذكية كما سيستخدم برنامج التعرف على الوجه لمساعدة ضبّاط الشرطة على تحديد هوية المجرمين والأشخاص المطلوبين والقبض عليهم، إضافة إلى بث لقطات فيديو مباشرة إلى مركز التحكم في شرطة دبي. #شرطة_دبي #dubaipolice @dubaipolicehq

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REEM is about 1.70 meters tall, 100 kilos heavy and it moves around on wheels. On his chest, you find a tablet to simplify the interaction with people when it comes to reporting crimes, pay tickets or other fulfilling other public service functions. It communicates in 15 languages, and it also identifies suspects, collects evidence and monitors streets, without forgetting to lean down to say hello. For his investigative work, he can compare faces with a database and send his conclusions, besides reading license plates or screening tourist areas to detect pickpockets.

During this first test, the police will analyze the behavior and acceptance of citizens and visitors in the presence of a robot. Some believe that this could affect the reliability of the police department because some people will feel uncomfortable when approaching a robot in case of having to file a complaint.

Close enough

Although this is fascinating news, it’s still reality and reality is never as fun as fiction so this Robocop is a little duller. It’s not a cyborg half human, half robot, it’s just a robot with batteries. He cannot chase criminals like said before it has wheels, not legs, and it’s unarmed. However, even if REEM doesn’t have the cool design and features that we are used to seeing on the big screen, it means a tremendous achievement for science.

Dubai’s government plans to replace part of the police force with this version of Robocop. If the experiment turns out successful, for 2030 security forces will be 75% human and 25% robots.

YouTube: Have you met Dubai Police’s new Robocop? (Khaleej Times)

Photo credit: PAL Robotics
Source: Reuters / PAL Robotics

Daniela Salcedo Bolivar

Daniela Salcedo Bolivar

Social media marketer. Cinema fan. Animal lover. Whatever happens, happens... as long as I have pen and paper with me.
Daniela Salcedo Bolivar


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Daniela Salcedo Bolivar

Social media marketer. Cinema fan. Animal lover. Whatever happens, happens... as long as I have pen and paper with me.

3 thoughts on “First Robocop to Join Dubai Police Force

  • August 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Interesting topic and i think there is a lot of potential. but i’m not quite sure how people will react if they have to interact with a robot instead of a human being.

    • August 23, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      I believe the experience is similar to use an app on a tablet. You’ll navigate through the menu and then probably tell a command center person via video or voice what’s going on. Certainly there is a decades long time for culture and behavior to adjust to technological possibilities. It could work.

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