A robo­cop on ev­ery Dubai street cor­ner

Fu­tur­is­tic of­fi­cer will boost se­cu­rity in city’s com­mu­ni­ties

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Shoshana Ke­dem @B_Shosh

He doesn’t need to eat or sleep and he’ll never drift off while on duty.

A real-life Robo­cop could be com­ing to your com­mu­nity soon af­ter Dubai Po­lice un­veiled a pro­to­type to sup­port po­lice and se­cu­rity guards in keep­ing the city safe.

This friendly of­fi­cer goes by the name MEO and is able to scan the faces of “strangers” while recog­nis­ing com­mu­nity res­i­dents.

Its de­vel­op­ers and po­lice are look­ing at bring­ing the bot into ser­vice as early as next year.

MEO – who costs Dhs1.8 mil­lion – is on dis­play at GI­TEX Tech­nol­ogy Week, where vir­tu­ally ev­ery gov­ern­ment depart­ment and pri­vate sec­tor firm has some type of pub­lic ser­vice ro­bot.

Bo Zheng, a Part­ner and Chief Ro­botic Sci­en­tist at ijour­ney, de­vel­oped the ro­bot for Dubai Po­lice along­side the Chi­nese tech gi­ant Huawei.

He said: “If you’re a stranger to the area, our fa­cial recog­ni­tion can stop you and po­litely ask you what you are do­ing here.

“MEO has a ro­ta­tion cam­era that will send a video to the con­trol room [who can] see who you are.

“If some­thing hap­pens you can ac­tu­ally press the red but­ton and you can talk di­rectly to the guy in the se­cu­rity of­fice and tell him what’s go­ing on. Mean­while, a ro­ta­tion cam­era will send video back to the con­trol room so of­fi­cers will see what’s go­ing on, con­tin­u­ously.” Zheng said MEO could be on pa­trol soon. He added: “The tech­nol­ogy is be­ing demon­strated on the stand and will pos­si­bly be in­tro­duced in Dubai in 2017.” Also embracing ro­bot tech­nol­ogy is DP World, with the Dhs600,000 Wizo, de­vel­oped by DigiRobotics. The multi-tal­ented Wizo can be de­ployed to work as a nurse as­sis­tant in health­care, a fire­fighter, or a waiter in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor. But the stern-faced ro­bot at GI­TEX will be de­ployed in se­cu­rity for DP World. “DP World is go­ing to use this ro­bot for se­cu­rity pur­poses,” said Svit­lana Voznyuz, In­ter­na­tional Man­age­ment Spe­cial­ist at DigiRobotics. “It will pa­trol the park­ing sta­tion, as well as meet­ing and greet­ing guests and show them the way out and the way to the meet­ing rooms. “It is also very im­por­tant for se­cu­rity be­cause it has fa­cial de­tec­tion.”

Mean­while, the Sa’adah ro­bot also made its de­but. It will be de­ployed at Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port Ter­mi­nal 2, where she will greet trav­ellers and scan their fa­cial ex­pres­sions through built-in sen­sors. It will then feed back their trav­eller sat­is­fac­tion with cus­toms and visa ser­vices to a cus­tomer ser­vice desk. The hap­pi­est cus­tomer will be en­tered into a draw to win a mo­bile phone. Lieu­tenant Amer Rashid said: “You have to look at the cam­era, and smile as big as you can. See, now you are very happy with our bor­der ser­vices.”

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