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Dubaï - Émirats arabes unis, Jul 18, 2017,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

The first self-driving police cars will soon patrol Dubai

Dubai Police Force will start using O-R3 autonomous patrol cars before the end of the year.


As part of the "Smart Dubai" initiative – a joint project run by private companies and the government that aims to modernise the city and integrate new technologies into its citizens' daily lives – Dubai Police Force has announced that it will start using O-R3 autonomous security robots between now and the end of 2017, reports. 


A completely autonomous robot


Designed by OTSAW Digital, a start-up company based in Singapore, the O-R3 robot is a miniature car the size of a shopping trolley that is covered with sensors and driven by artificial intelligence. Equipped with a 360° HD camera, thermal camera, laser scanners, LIDAR (a radar that uses light rather than radio waves) and a GPS system, this electronic vehicle can detect and avoid any obstacles in its path, and can therefore patrol the streets in complete safety without the need for human intervention. The O-R3 can also recharge itself for a 24/7 non-stop service.


All-seeing robots


This array of visual organs enables the robot to accomplish its main mission: The O-R3 is capable of facial recognition, which means that it can identify wanted people and recognise vehicle registration plates as well as detecting anything out of the ordinary, such as a suspect abandoned bag or a person venturing into a prohibited area.

When its four wheels become a handicap, it can deploy a drone – which is also autonomous – that is stored in its boot, which can be used to monitor rooftops, follow an individual through a crowd or assist the teams on the ground by giving them a better viewing angle.


Humans first


Equipped with a long-distance transmitter, the O-R3 is in constant contact with its control centre. As soon as it spots something, an alert is sent to a human operator, who then decides what action to take. The operator sees the data transmitted by the robot in real time and can even take control of the robot remotely.

The aim is not to replace humans, but to increase their capabilities. "Ultimately, robots exist to improve the quality of human lives, where people take on high-value jobs with regular working hours, while robots perform low-skilled tasks with punishing hours," explains Ting Ming, CEO of OTSAW Digital.

The O-R3 would relieve the police force from carrying out tiresome patrols and increase security on the streets, while offering a more discrete police presence than traditional human patrols. This is the opinion shared by Major-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-chief of Dubai Police Force, who hopes to "increase operations that use technologies such as robots," and aims to guarantee "safety and peace on the streets without a strong police presence." 

The first robots are due to be put into action in shopping districts at the end of 2017, and there are expected to be around a hundred autonomous patrol robots on duty by 2020. The city of Dubai's final goal is for its police force to be made up of 25% robots by 2030.


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