Singapore has always jumped at the chance to integrate city-wide technical innovation, whether it be through its uber-efficient public transport system or by supporting its pretty stringent laws with a mass of surveillance cameras. Now it’s taking its security even further into the future, and is reportedly testing a new patrol robot named Xavier.
Officer Xavier, here to protect and serve
The human-sized Xavier robots, like their namesake running the X-Men’s School For Gifted Youngsters, roll around areas with high foot traffic on a set of four wheels, and sport the most important tool in a surveillance droid’s arsenal: a camera.
Specifically, a set of 360-degree cameras, some of which are kitted with IR and low-light sensors to capture images in poor lighting. They also have a set of navigation sensors so that they don’t go crashing into any walls, or rolling over people’s toes.
The 360-degree cams and Xavier’s on-board AI will look out for any behaviour the city-state’s government deems “undesirable social behaviours”. So these bots aren’t going to be stopping any diamond heists or gang wars, but they will keep an eye out for j-walking and smoking in non-smoking zones. They’ll also be on the lookout for people violating COVID-19 safety rules.
If a Xavier bot spies some mildly illegal activity going on, it will alert its command centre and then provide a handy message on its display to tell an offender (and the general public) what they have done wrong, and what they should do in future. Xavier’s onboard AI also analyses what it sees to decide if it needs human backup.
Singapore will spend the next three weeks testing Xavier bots by having them patrol Toa Payoh Central. As much as they vaguely resemble Daleks, we’re pretty sure we don’t have to worry about a global techno-supremacy just yet. Touch wood.