Dubai’s police force has confirmed that it will be adding an O-R3 Drone to its fleet by the end of 2017
During a recent press conference at the Dubai Police General HQ, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri revealed that the autonomous O-R3 Drone from OTSAW Robotics would become the newest member of the force. Expected to arrive by the end of the year, it would make Dubai the first city in the world to purchase the drone for everyday patrol use.
The manufacturer, Singapore-based OTSAW Digital, claims the drone is the world’s first ground- aerial outdoor security robot and will provide 24/7 patrol and protection across the streets of Dubai. OTSAW informed CNN that Dubai Police have agreed in principle to acquire up to 100 units by 2020, leased at a cost of US$10,000 per unit per month. This is a part of the bigger plan the police force has to eventually make 25% of its fleet robotic by the year 2030.
The vehicle is set to autonomously return to its charging station when the battery is running low. It is outfitted with an array of cameras, enabling it to capture a wide range of data such as thermal imaging, facial and license plate recognition and stereo photography. Equipped with numerous 3D and 2D laser scanners, IMU and ultrasonic sensors, GPS and long range data transmitters the O-R3 is effectively able to avoid obstacles and detect anomalies. With real-time alerts from O-R3, the humans in the police force are able to act instantly to prevent or stop crime. Authorised security personnel can override the O-R3 and manually manoeuvre its movements when necessary – keeping humans in full control.
There is a drone hidden within the ground vehicle and the flying machine launches from an extendable platform, enabling suspect tracking at a distance of up to 328 ft (100 m). The O-R3 is set to detect perimeter breach and monitor environmental factors including CO2 levels. ElecTrans could not immediately verify further information on battery size and operating time.
The introduction of the O-R3 Drone is a call made by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai, as part of an aim to make Dubai the smartest in the world by harnessing the latest technology. A statement was made by the head of the Dubai police claiming the aim is “for streets to be safe and peaceful without heavy police patrol”. The discreet nature of these robots is not the only benefit that will be introduced. Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi of Dubai Police explained that “these kinds of robots can work 24/7. They won’t ask you for leave, sick leave or maternity. It can work around the clock.”
Dubai is not stopping in its plan for the technological future with the drones as the Brigadier in an interview with CNN in April stated: “we’re planning later on to have robot (officers) in driverless cars”. Therefore, the drone seems to be the very first step in Dubai’s plans for a robotic police force. However, the Dubai police force and OTSAW reassure that the robots are not intended to replace human officers, but instead will allow the force better manage resources and manpower.
ElecTrans thinks that the presence of this new autonomous 0-R3 drone that Dubai is introducing to its police force is going to drastically change the way in which crime is detected and pursued in the streets of the city. It may be the beginning of a transformation towards the use of everyday robotics. The drone shall alleviate routine tasks and allow human guards to do high-value responsibilities. Dubai has been the first to take the leap into the unknown with this drone, however, if all goes well they are looking at having more in the years to come and it may not be long before other countries and in particular police forces are following in this new robotic trend.