Rise of the Machines: RoboCops Coming Soon!
In our newest edition of Transportation & Mobility, we covered Dubai’s plan of employing autonomous aerial passenger drones by the end of this summer – you can read about it here. Now, Dubai’s interest in adopting autonomous technology is being taken a step further through the deployment of self-driving police patrol vehicles. Developed by a Singapore-based company called OTSAW Digital, the O-R3 robocop will have the ability of autonomously conducting surveillance and patrols.
It is unclear when OTSAW Digital will begin building and manufacturing the O-R3, but Dubai is the only country so far to have raised interest in employing these vehicles in their Police Force. The Dubai Police is planning on leasing 100 O-R3 units by 2020, according to CNN, at a cost of $10,000 each per month.
OTSAW has stated that Dubai will be the very first city in the world to use the O-R3 and noted that these robots are not intended to replace human officers but to better manage resources and manpower. Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, commander of the Dubai Police Force, seems to be all for the adoption of these vehicles saying: “We seek to augment operations with the help of technology such as robots. Essentially, we aim for streets to be safe and peaceful even without heavy police patrol.”
You may be skeptical of the degree to which these robocops can maintain law and order, but make no mistake; the O-R3 is loaded with enough high-tech gadgets to be fully capable of fighting crime.
Technically a RoboCop on four wheels, the O-R3 is equipped with enough high-end tech to replace a police squadron. Outfitted with an arsenal of security technology such as laser scanners, thermal cameras as well as GPS and Lidar, the O-R3 is fully capable of performing basic patrolling and surveillance work.
It can additionally leverage its cameras for facial and license plate recognition when looking for a perpetrator or stolen vehicle. Even though the O-R3 is fully autonomous, police and security personnel have complete control and can override the vehicle if necessary directly from the command center.
One of the most interesting pieces of technology available with the O-R3 is its onboard autonomous drone. These drones are linked to the police central command room for aerial surveillance and are capable of reaching speeds of 50km/h with intruder/felon tracking capabilities.
O-R3 are also fully electric and will be able to recharge themselves when needed. However, don’t expect any high-speed chases out of these little robots (Dubai’s police force has enough supercars for that); with a top-speed of 15km/h, the O-R3 will only be able to fight crime indirectly and from a distance.
What’s Under the Hood?
The O-R3 is powered and run by an advanced machine learning algorithm and 3D SLAM technology. For autonomous robots, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology is in charge of mapping, constructing and updating unknown environments while simultaneously keeping track of the robot’s location within it – providing for seamless autonomous maneuverability.
Therefore, SLAM allows the O-R3 to navigate its surroundings perceptively while adequately detecting anomalies, avoiding obstacles, and self-charging when needed. But all this depends on what’s under the hood. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the tech the O-R3 has to offer:
1. Perception Sensors
O-R3 is set with an array of cameras with each serving a specialized function in the likes of thermal imaging, facial and license plate recognition, stereo photography and more. The main purpose of these cameras is for autonomous driving as well as detecting crime.
Highly Precise Sensors
O-R3 is equipped with numerous 3D and 2D laser scanners, an inertialmeasurement unit (IMU) and ultrasonic sensors, GPS, long-range data transmitters and much more. These sensors serve the purpose of not just collecting extremely granular data but to transmit all critical data and information to the control center.
Intelligent Data Analysis
All the data produced from the above tech needs to be analyzed and that is where sensor fusion technology comes into play. This technology gives O-R3 the power of intelligently crunching huge chunks of data at lightning speeds, giving it not only instantaneous perception of surroundings but also human-like decision-making and action-taking. By augmenting human capabilities, the O-R3 is fit to perform the menial routine tasks while human guards attend to higher value work.
2. Ground-Aerial Collaborative Surveillance
With the help of cameras, sensors and laser technology, the O-R3 proves to be an effective surveillance robot. However, O-R3’s second level of surveillance and eye in the sky makes it almost unstoppable. O-R3 is the world’s first autonomous robot with an aerial and ground collaborative surveillance system. The UGV-UAV collaboration ensures a thorough sweep of designated premises, leaving no blind spots unchecked.
3. Fleet Control Center
Accompanying the O-R3 is a fleet control center mentioned above. It functions as the central communication system where all alerts from O-R3 are relayed and received. Unlike with human security personnel, O-R3 provides real-time alerts while on the job. These alerts, displayed on the dashboard, allow security personnel to act instantly to prevent or stop any possible crimes taking place in real-time. The fleet control center also provides human personnel with all override controls needed, giving them the ability to control the O-R3 and manually maneuver its movements.
Take a look at some of the possible scenarios the O-R3 could encounter and how it can leverage its technological capabilities in order to deal with them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky06P-uYCFs
Robots may be taking over human jobs, but the O-R3 does much more than just fight crime - it keeps security personnel from risking and exposing their lives to unnecessary danger. O-R3 provides superior security and surveillance than any human possibly could and will surely result in lowering crime and preventing any casualties.
Whether employed by governmental institutions, private companies or even security companies offering their own services, O-R3 needs no prior training and only requires a one-time setup by fleet control personnel.
The O-R3 also significantly increases productivity – there areno off days, medical leaves or breaks in between shifts. Capable of performing its security duties around the clock 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, O-R3 keeps premises secure at all times.
Assuming all goes well with Dubai’s initial O-R3 pilot program, the first patrol robocars are set to report for duty before the end of the year. The Dubai Police aims to adopt even more robots in the coming years in an effort to realize its plan of having robots make up a quarter of its force by 2030. That’s quite ironic for a police department whose fleet consists of the most exclusive and high-performance supercars in the world.