China has become the first country in the world to deploy a real-life RoboCop.
The newly unveiled bots have been tasked with assisting their human counterparts maintain order on China’s street. The initiative is another example of China using cutting edge tech to police its populations.
Don’t panic. It doesn’t look anything like this
The bot was revealed by the Handan Public Security Bureau in Northern China. Three slightly different models are being rolled out across the city for traffic enforcement according to reports by the state-run news agency.
The ‘road patrol robot‘ – below – is designed to look like a police traffic officer. It even has a yellow uniform and a white hat. In theory, the robot is able to identify drivers and photograph those breaking the rules.
The ‘advice traffic robot‘ will be placed in vehicle management stations and answer residents’ questions and provide basic directions (while automatically report any security risks or suspects to police) according to the Global Times.
The ‘accident warning robot‘ will be deployed when human traffic police need to let approaching drives know about ongoing incidents and traffic accidents.
The Handan Public Security Bureau official has stated the robots will be on duty 24/7 it isn’t clear whether this applies to all three models.
While the bots seem a world away from the dystopian Robotics in the 1987 film RoboCop, the initiative shows yet another way in which China is rolling out technology to bolster policing.
China has already used facial recognition extensively to track citizens and is forcing the use of RFID tags in tags in new cars for toll-roads. There are examples where police have been given ‘facial recognition glasses’ to allow officers to spot flagged individuals.