Singapore trials Xavier robots to patrol public areas

Singapore is known for having extremely strict laws and surveillance cameras throughout the city-state. In the future, it will also have robots that monitor violators of the rules. In fact, Singapore has begun testing two autonomous robots to patrol public areas and deter poor social behavior in its latest effort to further augment its strong portfolio of surveillance tools.

For a three-week period from 5 Sep 2021, the robots, called Xavier, will weave their way autonomously through the crowds in Toa Payoh Central to detect “undesirable social behaviors” such as flouting of COVID-19 safety measures, smoking in prohibited areas, and improper parking of bicycles.

The patrol robots are equipped with 360-degree cameras that can detect bad social behavior. If they observe any problematic behavior, the robots then trigger real-time alerts to the command and control center and display the appropriate message (depending on the scenario) to educate the public and deter such behaviors. Xavier robots are also able to capture images and videos in dim light and in the dark with their IR and LED illumination as well as low-light cameras. Plus, the videos they shoot will be analyzed through an AI system to look for anything that might require a response from human employees.

To enable machines to move autonomously in the city, Xavier is equipped with a different types of sensors that allow them to avoid both stationary and moving obstacles, including pedestrians and vehicles. The interactive dashboard allows officers to remotely respond to incidents on the ground via a two-way intercom or using pre-recorded audio messages. The trial is taking place in a public area with high foot traffic to augment the work of public officers in enhancing public health and safety.

This is 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.

Singapore has already declared in August that the city-state aimed to have more than 200,000 police cameras by 2030, more than double the current number of cameras deployed across the island state in Southeast Asia.

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