The heavy lifting on the police force isn't a job that's going to the robots anytime soon. The basic beat, however, could be handed off to a collection of batteries wires, and cameras in the near future.
Dubai's police force has confirmed that it will indeed be adding a fleet of self-driving vehicles to its fleet by the end of the year. It's not just iRobot, but Officer iRobot to you, civilian.
What we're working with here is a vehicle called the O-R3. It's being developed by Otsaw Robotics and is described as a fully self-driving security robot. This isn't just one vehicle either, as it comes packing a drone to add a level of aerial surveillance to its arsenal.
The O-R3 is equipped with a suite of cameras and imaging devices so that it can avoid obstacles and keep very aware of its surroundings. We have thermal imaging, laser scanners, HD cameras and LIDAR. This means the O-R3 can read license plates, faces and notice things that shouldn't be where they might be placed.
This robot police vehicle isn't being added to the fleet to reduce the human workforce, but instead to assist with the human workflow. The ground and air-based team of O-R3s will monitor for crimes and work to track criminals, sending data back to a home base. This can help the human element on its pursuit and capturing of those causing these crimes.
Sure, the whole idea is a little scary, but at the same time it's a reminder that the future will be filled with fascinating bits of machinery.