At the end of May a lone humanoid robot, wearing a police cap and posing for tourists and passers-by, appeared at the foot of the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – in Dubai.
Featuring a computer touchscreen embedded in its chest and able to move at speed on its wheeled chassis, the robot provides the public with an alternative mode of communicating with the police – whether to report a crime or inquire about more mundane issues such as how to pay speeding fines. It also carries a camera that can be monitored 24/7 by a security control room.
The issue of finding an alternative method of communication is key to the use of robotic police officers, according to Brigadier Khaled al-Razzooqi, Head of Smart Services for Dubai Police. He is also on record as stating that the force’s ambition is for robots to make up fully 25% of the police force by 2030.