Dubai is bringing job-killing automation out of the factories and into the streets as its first robotic police officer officially reported for duty on Thursday. The United Arab Emirates hopes that "robocops" like this one will comprise 25% of Dubai's police force by 2030.
As Agence France Press reported, the robotic cop posed for souvenir photos with tourists at the foot of the Burj Khalifa on Thursday. Dubai’s government plans to deploy its new cadre of robot officers at tourist destinations like the world's tallest tower.
A camera installed on the robot sends a live feed to police headquarters, while a touchscreen installed on its chest area will allow citizens and tourists to report crimes, pay traffic tickets and submit paperwork, according to United Press International. Its facial recogniition software can also be used to identify facial expressions, so if somebody approaches the robot looking upset or scared, it can try to calm them down.
The robot, which travels on wheels, is five feet, five inches tall, weighs 100 kilograms and can speak six languages, according to UNI.
As AFP reports: “The main purpose is to ‘find a new way to deal with people’, said Brigadier Khaled al-Razzooqi, head of Smart Services at Dubai police."
Al-Razzooqui acknowledged that the robot wouldn’t be able to replicate certain tasks, like arresting suspects, that’re best reserved for humans. Though Dubai is hopeful that advances in artificial intelligence might allow it to patrol the streets, make arrests and perform other more complex tasks by 2030.
Police in Dubai, a popular tourist destination that attracted 15 million visitors last year according to AFP, previously made headlines by purchasing luxury cars like Ferraris and Lamborghinis and using them as patrol vehicles.