Dubai Gets Its First Robot Cop

07 June, 2017

If you are in Dubai you may notice a robot police officer sharing the street with you. Your first thought might be, "Have I walked into a movie set?"

The answer is no. That robot is Dubai's newest police officer.

The robot has a touch screen instead of a weapon. The robot will be employed mostly at shopping centers and other places popular with visitors.

The robot's face has eyes but no mouth or nose. It stands 165 centimeters tall and weighs 100 kilograms.

The world's first operational police robot hit the streets of Dubai on May 31, 2017.
The world's first operational police robot hit the streets of Dubai on May 31, 2017.

If the robot works well, Dubai says 25 percent of its police force could be robotic by 2030.

The robot cop was officially presented at Dubai's Gulf Information and Security Expo and Conference in May.

Mohammed Elnakib, a telecommunications manager, was surprised when he was met with a "Hi, Mohammed!" from the robot cop.

Elnakib said, "It was creepy but it is also the future. Then I realized it had read my name tag. This will be a fantastic addition because everything is moving towards doing more with fewer people."

The rolling robot reported for duty on the streets of Dubai.

The police hope the robots will make life easier for the people of Dubai. Khalid Al Razooqi is Director General of Smart Services at the Dubai Police. He said the robot can help the public all day every, every day, and that "it won't ask for any sick leave or maternity leave."

What the robot cop can do

The robot cannot make arrests. But it can recognize faces and compare them to photographs on a criminal database. It can also sense emotions.

People can use the robot's touch screen to do things like report a crime, pay fines and report lost or found things. They can also ask how to get somewhere.

The robot can salute and shake hands with people. So far, the robot can speak in Arabic and English. It soon will learn other languages such as Russian, Chinese, French and Spanish.

In addition to having a touch screen, the robot has a camera that can live-stream video to a police command center.

This video shows what the Dubai robot cop can do:

The future

Dubai has plans to add other kinds of robots to its police force. Within two years, the city plans to deploy a three-meter-tall robot that can run up to 80 kilometers an hour.

The Dubai government says the machine would be the world's largest robot. A human police officer will be able to sit inside and control the robot. It will be able to lift heavy objects.

The city also plans to use an egg-shaped robot to supervise parking areas and ticket traffic law violators.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Do you like the idea of robot cops? Would you use one? Do you think robot cops will make the world safer and more convenient? Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on 51VOA.COM.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

touch screen - n. a type of screen on a computer which shows options that you can choose by touching the screen

cop - n. police officer

tag - n. a small piece of cloth, paper, metal, etc., that is attached to something and that has information written on it

fantastic - adj. extremely good

maternity - adj. relating to the time when a woman gives birth to a baby

database - n. a collection of pieces of information that is organized and used on a computer

salute - v. to give a sign of respect to (a military officer, flag, etc.) by moving your right hand to your forehead

live-stream - v. transmit or receive live video and audio coverage of (an event) over the Internet