Artificial Intelligence

Self-driving cars are coming to Dubai’s Police Force

5th July 2017
Lanna Cooper


Authorities in Dubai are set to have a new recruit patrolling the streets: a mini robotic police car to help identify and track suspects. The robotic cars are powered with machine learning algorithms and 3D SLAM technology, but police officers can control the cars through a computer in their patrol car dashboards.

The cars do not move very quickly, but an aerial drone sits on top of the car and can detach and survey surrounding areas that a car might not be able to reach.

The robotic car has been developed by start-up company OTSAW Digital and has named it the O-R3. With an array of cameras for thermal imaging, facial and license plate recognition, the O-R3 is able to capture and access a wide range of data. Through sensor fusion technology, it intelligent crunches chunks of data at top speed. Although humans are ultimately still in control. With real time alerts from O-R3 displayed on the dashboard, human security personnel are able to act instantly to prevent or stop crime. The authorised security personnel can also override the O-R3 and manoeuvre its movements when necessary.

Dubai will be the first city in the world to use the O-R3 for everyday patrols, however, the robot isn’t going to replace human police officers for now, only perform low-level patrols and surveillance work. As Dubai is an ever growing popular holiday destination, it will mainly be deployed around tourist areas.

In a press statement, Police Chief Major General, Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri said: “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.”

Earlier in June, Dubai recruited the world’s first police bot to monitor tourist attractions. The robot named ‘RoboCop’ speaks two languages, English and Arabic, but will soon speak four. With the addition of the OR-3, patrolling the streets, Dubai seems to be well on its way to its goal of creating a robotic police force by 2030.

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