On Wednesday, China’s first batch of traffic robot police started working in Handan, North China’s Hebei Province.
Managing road traffic in the world’s most populous country is not an easy task. Now, the team of three different types of traffic robots will assist human officers in the city. The robots are developed using big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and laser-based navigation.
Each of the three types of robots looks slightly different from the others and will serve a unique function such as patrolling, information consulting, and providing accident alerts.
One of them is a ‘road patrol robot,’ which resembles a traffic police officer in a yellow uniform and white hat. Equipped with automatic navigation, the patrolling robot can identify drivers and snap the pictures of their illegal behavior, and remind jaywalkers in Putonghua.
The next is ‘robotic traffic consultants.’ It will post up in vehicle management stations and is capable of answering questions, guiding residents to counters through a display screen on their body and automatically reporting security risks and suspects to police.
These robots are installed with a database that helps identify anyone classified as suspicious by authorities.
And the last one called the accident warning robot is the smallest of the three. It is designed to let drivers in passing vehicles know when police are dealing with traffic accidents.
Although the three robots serve different purposes, they all share the same facial recognition software installed in their cameras.
These are the China’s first robot traffic police on duty, developed by parties including the Handan municipal public security bureau in Hebei Province, according to Zhou Zuoying, deputy head of the Ministry of Public Security’s Traffic Management Research Institute.
The robots will have more functions on vehicle management and traffic management, and will be on duty 24/7, one of the officials said.
In recent years, we have seen a number of high-tech innovations are coming to help traffic police on the road. A few days ago, a robotic research engineer had shown his RoboCop designed to make traffic stops safer for both Police officers and motorists. Next, UK police decided to use a drone to monitor road users engaged in dangerous driving.
It’s good to see that China also is leaning into the use of technology for law enforcement.