Most people have probably come around to the idea that the Dubai police's use of exotic cars such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris and the like is real and not some sort of convoluted April fool prank. They really do drive around in cars like that liveried up in the green and white police garb, so it may not be too surprising to learn of the latest innovative move by the Dubai force, which is to deploy a fleet of self-driving police cars.
It was already announced earlier this year that passenger taxi drones are to begin flying around Dubai this summer, but now it has been revealed that autonomous cars will be assisting the police by the end of this year.
But not only will these driverless cars negotiate the roads without a human driver being necessary, they will also be equipped to scan people to identify criminals and "undesirables."
While patrolling the city on their own, the cars will employ biometric software to scan and identify any individuals they come across. In reality, the authorities are hoping the very presence of these vehicles will in itself serve to deter crime. But if anyone doubts the commitment of the Dubai police for these vehicles to really identify people, they will also come equipped with their own onboard drone linked to the command center to relay back aerial surveillance footage.
The correct name for the vehicle is the O-R3 security robot, which is built by the Singapore-based company OTSAW Digital. Each unit is equipped with a laser scanner, a thermal camera, HD cameras, GPS and LIDAR for navigation, but the cameras can also be used for facial and license-plate recognition. Although they are designed to be fully autonomous, the systems can be overridden and controlled by a human, if required.
Replacing up to 25 percent of its police force with robots has already been stated as an intention by the Dubai police department, and the first robotic police officer was introduced to duty just last month. The ultimate goal is apparently to have a fully robotic police station, free of humans by 2030, and the Dubai force appears to be well on the way.