Top three robots used for law enforcement during lockdown

Placing cops on duty for maintaining law and order during a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, especially in virus-contaminated bio-hazardous zones like hospital isolation wards, quarantine facilities, and other public places, is not advisable.

The authorities need to take measures to ensure social distancing as there have been several reports about unruly behavior from several locations, including the quarantine facilities and hospital zones.

To control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the government authorizes, and police across the world urgently needed an autonomous system — a robocop, which can be placed in main streets to monitor and control the non-essential movement of people.

With these unmanned ground vehicles with the ability to move freely, interact with humans and pass remote instructions to the offenders to get indoors, police teams can operate from within the safety of their vehicles or remotely from an Operations Centre.

When equipped with a GPS navigation system, cameras, HD Infra-Red (IR) cameras, and a movable 360-degree thermal camera, specialized sensors (like accelerometers, inertial guidance systems, and gyrocompasses) and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), the robots can give a better advantage of range, quicker data collection and recordable information for transmission and instantaneous analysis.

These real-time pictures and video feed from the robots can enable quick situation assessment, investigation, and decision making. This post will look at the top three robots used by the government during the COVID-19 lockdown for law enforcement.

1. P-Guard

P-Guard, produced by ENOVA Robotics, is a police robot (robocop), which has been deployed on the streets by the interior ministry of Tunisia to impose lockdown restrictions on citizens and to help slow the spread of coronavirus. This robot car was originally invented for security patrols of sensitive, open areas.

To deliver 360 degrees zero blind-spot surround imagery, each P-Guard robot is equipped with 2 VIVOTEK MS9390-HV 180-degree panoramic network cameras. Since its debut in 2018, this has been VIVOTEK’s most iconic multi-sensor camera.

The MS9390-HV features dual 4-megapixel wide-angle lenses, seamless 180-degree panoramic views, and IR illuminators effective up to 20 meters, making it the ideal camera to provide superb image quality for both day and night surveillance. Also, the face-shaped housing design of MS9390-HV is perfectly matched to the robot appearance and makes the P-Guard robot look friendlier to citizens.

With its field-beating cameras, Lidar technology, and extensive network connectivity, the P-Guard can be remotely operated to perform security missions to all corners of the city, making sure that people are staying at home during the nationwide quarantine.

2. Spot

The yellow robot dog called Spot is a hi-tech, remote-controlled hound, developed by US company Boston Dynamics, which can clamber easily over all types of terrain. Spot is best known for a video where the robot showed off its moves by bopping to Mark Ronson hit “Uptown Funk,” which has been viewed over 6.8 million times on YouTube.

It has been deployed to patrol a three-kilometer (1.8 miles) stretch of the park in Singapore and encourage locals to continue social distancing. The dog uses cameras to estimate the number of visitors and has sensors to ensure it does not bump into people. The robot blasts out a warning to ensure that joggers and walkers keep their distance to curb coronavirus spread.

“Let’s keep Singapore healthy. For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one meter apart. Thank you,” a female voice says on repeat. The robot is controlled remotely and is a trial by Singapore’s cybersecurity agencies.

3. Matar

Matar is a multi-purpose all-terrain autonomous robot which has been patrolling at a foreign worker dormitory in the eastern part of Singapore, since the start of May, complementing police officers on the ground to ensure safe distancing. The Matar was jointly developed by the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) Robotics, Automation, and Unmanned Systems Centre of Expertise in association with ST Engineering and A*Star.

Two robots were deployed, and they help the police officers cover more areas, as they can patrol separate areas from the officers. The two robots can each operate for up to four hours, depending on the functions used. One is always on patrol while the other is recharging.

Equipped with cameras and speakers, the robots can be controlled remotely by an operator in a command center. They can even be dispatched to attend to minor incidents, reducing the need for officers to be physically close to those under quarantine.

The robot navigates autonomously, avoiding stationary and moving obstacles in its path. It has a 360-degree camera, which can cover any blind spots during patrols. The video and audio recordings are fed to the command center, where an operator can view it live. A 2m tall mast can be raised to provide a higher vantage point.