In Singapore for the first time, ground robots on the streets of Singapore are being trailed to patrol and survey a public area with high foot traffic to augment the work of public officers and deter poor social behaviour.
Through a joint project involving five public agencies, namely HTX (Home Team Science and Technology Agency), National Environment Agency, Land Transport Authority, Singapore Food Agency, and Housing & Development Board the trials are being conducted.
On Sunday, Singapore’s Home Team Science and Technology Agency said in a statement, “Ranked one of the safest countries in the world, Singapore has put two autonomous robots on trial to detect bad behaviour such as flouting of COVID-19 safety measures, smoking in prohibited areas and the improper parking of bicycles.”
“The two patrol robots, named Xavier, are equipped with cameras that can detect bad social behaviour and trigger real-time alerts to the command and control centre,” it added.
The trial is taking place in central Singapore in an area with high foot traffic. During the three-week trial, the robots would be used for observation and displaying messages to educate the public on proper behaviour, said the agency. On Monday the spokesperson from the agency said, during the trial, the robots would not be used for law implementation.
The agency said, “The deployment of Xavier will support the work of public officers as it will reduce the manpower required for foot patrols and improve operational efficiency.”
In August the city-state aimed to have more than 200,000 police cameras by 2030, which will be more than double of the cameras located across the island state in Southeast Asia, said Singapore’s home affairs minister, K Shanmugam.
Singapore, being one of the world’s most vaccinated countries, new steps are being taken by Singapore to slow down the uncontrolled increase in COVID-19 cases but can’t rule out returning to closing restaurants and restricting public life if serious infections continue to rise.
On Monday, Finance Minister and co-chair of the government’s virus taskforce Lawrence Wong said, “We have to slow down the transmission rate, We will attempt to do so without going back to another heightened alert. These are last-resort measures and we will try our best to refrain from using them, but we should not rule them out entirely.”