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Singapore’s Police Robots Begin Airport Patrols at Changi Airport

Standing over 7 feet tall when fully extended and equipped with a 360-degree field of view, they’re formidable enough to give any potential lawbreaker pause for thought. And no, they are not Robocop.

A pair of robots has recently been unveiled by the Singapore Police Force that will be deployed for patrolling Changi Airport, following over five years of testing.

They are merely the beginning of such robotic additions that the force intends to distribute across the Southeast Asian metropolis in order to “augment frontline officers” in the upcoming years.

The robots, which started their airport patrols in April, are designed to “project additional police presence” and function as supplementary “eyes on the ground,” as the force explains.

The force describes these robots as the newest entries to its “technological arsenal.”

They’re far from a mere novelty. In the event of an incident, the force mentions, the robots have the capability to establish cordons and alert bystanders with their flashing lights, sirens, and loudspeakers while awaiting the arrival of human officers.

The general public can directly communicate with the force by pressing a button located on the front of the robots.

The Singapore Police Force announced on Friday that an increasing number of robots would be “progressively deployed” across the city-state.

“The integration of robotics enhances the operational efficiency and capabilities of our frontline officers, enabling them to be more effective in their duties,” stated Superintendent and Head of Airport Police Operations, Lim Ke Wei.

Every robot is fitted with built-in speakers for broadcasting audio messages and a back-facing LCD panel for showing visual messages.

Their height is approximately 1.7 meters (5.5 feet), but they can extend their masts to reach up to 2.3 meters (7.5 feet).

They’re also furnished with multiple cameras that provide them with a 360-degree perspective, allowing airport police to have “unobstructed views” for “better incident management,” it further stated.

These are just the latest robotic recruits to serve in public roles in this tech-savvy country of over 5 million residents.

Earlier models of these robots were featured at public parades in 2018 and 2022.

During the coronavirus pandemic, robot dogs were employed to enforce strict social distancing, while cleaning robots can be frequently spotted at metro stations nationwide – as well as at the airport.

Meanwhile, transportation officials remain optimistic that commercial flying taxis could become a reality within a mere two years.

But even in a nation where robots are quite commonplace, the most recent additions may require some adjustment.

American traveller Samwell Swant found himself doing a double-take when he traversed Terminal 4 on his way to catch a recent flight to Vietnam.

“It was certainly a sight – like something out of a movie or Black Mirror,” Swant stated. “It was hard not to notice.”

Curious, he cautiously approached to examine it closer and witnessed it illuminating as a camera extended outward.

“ChatGPT… AI music… robots… Soon machines will take over the world and these security robots definitely look like they mean business,” he remarked.