Dubai is set to introduce the newest member of their police force: a 5-foot, 5-inch [165.1 cm], 222-pound [100.698 kg] robot which will be equipped with facial recognition technology and have the ability to broadcast live video feeds. The first model, which will begin patrolling the streets of the futuristic city today, will not be on the front lines making arrests, but will be interacting with the community. Residents of Dubai will be able to report crimes, pay fines, and ask the robot questions (though what sort of questions is unclear).
The head of Dubai’s Police Tech division told reporters at the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference that “by 2030, [Dubai is] keen to make robots around 25% of the total police force.” Though this may sound like the beginning of a dystopian novel, this is not the first robot in use by a police force.
Police departments in the United States use robots for training purposes and also utilize bomb-diffusing robots that were first created for the American military. In 2016, the Cleveland Police used robots to patrol the Republican National Convention, while police in Dallas outfitted a robot with a bomb to kill a sniper after losing numerous police lives. South Korea has robot prison guards, and Israeli police use robots in their counter-terrorism unit.
While this is not the first robot to be put into use by police, it is the first that will be ever present on the streets of a city that will eventually be able to make arrests and have all of the responsibilities of a regular cop. The rollout will happen over the next decade, so hopefully that will be enough time to work out any kinks — including robots’ lack of human empathy. And, as these robots have recording capabilities, make sure none of them document any PDA on video.