Singapore has begun testing robots to patrol public areas and deter bad social behavior in its latest effort to further expand its strong portfolio of surveillance tools.
Singapore, ranked as one of the safest countries in the world, has put two autonomous robots on trial to detect bad behavior such as ignoring COVID-19 safety measures, smoking in restricted areas and incorrectly parking bicycles, Singapore’s Science and Technology Home Team Agency said in a statement on Sunday.
It said the two patrol robots, named Xavier, are equipped with cameras that can detect bad social behavior and provide real-time alerts to the command and control center.
The trial will take place in an area with high foot traffic in central Singapore. The agency said that during the three-week trial, the robots would be used for surveillance and display messages to educate the public on correct behavior.
An agency spokesman said Monday that the robots will not be used for law enforcement during the trial. “Xavier’s deployment will support the work of public officials as it will reduce the manpower required for foot patrols and improve the efficiency of the operation,” the agency said.
Singapore’s Home Secretary K Shanmugam said in August that the city-state aims to have more than 200,000 police cameras by 2030, more than double the current number of cameras set up in the island nation in Southeast Asia.
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