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Nov 27, 2023 | 08:59 pm 1071 0

Robots in the police service. RoboCop - reality or fiction?


Robots in the police service. RoboCop - reality or fiction?

In 1987, famous director Paul Verhoeven made a cult film about RoboCop. In it, he showed the effectiveness of the robot in the police, as well as many possible problems. Since then, proposals began to come in every year to create a real RoboCop, which would make it possible to fight dangerous criminals more effectively. The gradual improvement of technology has made it possible to achieve this goal in the 21st century. Today, you can increasingly see robots helping the police. They do their job efficiently but cannot wholly replace living people yet.

Do the police have robots?

Several decades ago, no one could even think that robotic technology would be actively used in various industrial enterprises. The idea of introducing robots into police activities seemed even more fantastic. Years passed, and the fantasy became a reality. Many countries worldwide use robotic technology to carry out various police activities. This process is at the initial stage of its formation, but it is already clear that our future is inextricably linked with it.

The first officially recorded cases of police use of robots date back to the beginning of the 21st century. Then they were involved in dangerous work that was difficult for humans to do (for example, small robotic vehicles on wheels brought phones to terrorists who had taken hostages, with the help of which they could negotiate with the police and put forward their demands). As technology advances, robots become more capable and suitable for various tasks. Gradually, these human-controlled devices became larger and outwardly similar to people in police uniforms. With the advent of the possibility of using artificial intelligence, robots have become more independent, and the percentage of their erroneous actions has decreased significantly. This made it possible to involve RoboCop in various events where close contact with people is provided (for example, robots that speak several languages began to be used to receive complaints from injured citizens of the country or tourists who became victims of criminals).

Successful testing of many RoboCop models has further expanded their capabilities. However, universal robots have yet to appear that can fully replace living police officers. Nowadays, most models are programmed to perform 2-3 tasks. This limits the capabilities of any given robot. However, when combined with other RoboCop, it can be pretty effective. This solution will speed up the further introduction of robots into police work.

Advantages and disadvantages of robots in the police

The gradual introduction of robots into police work is causing much controversy. Proponents of this decision focus on society's many benefits from using RoboCop. At the same time, opponents of replacing living police officers with robots demonstrate all the shortcomings and warn about possible negative consequences. To understand right and wrong, you need to study all the pros and cons of using robots in the police.

Notable benefits:

  1. Ability to work in any conditions. The good thing about robots is that they can do their jobs effectively, even in the most extreme conditions. It is not afraid of exposure to high temperatures, radiation, chemicals, heavy precipitation, etc. Thanks to their use, it will be possible to protect police officers from multiple troubles, preserving their health and sometimes even their lives. In addition, robots are often equipped with night vision devices, which can work around the clock without breaks or days off.
  2. Increased efficiency. Any robotic technology can handle most tasks faster than a human. This feature makes it possible to increase the efficiency of police work, thereby reducing the crime rate to a minimum.
  3. Reduce risk for police officers. The work of a police officer always involves certain risks. At any moment, representatives of this profession may be attacked by criminals with all the ensuing unpleasant consequences. If there are jobs, the police will be involved in their remote control (and, in some cases, will not have to do this work), minimizing the likelihood of injury or any injury. Also, the use of robotic technology will help to significantly reduce the number of deaths of police officers performing their professional duty.
  4. The ability to quickly process a large amount of information. People's capabilities are minimal. In most cases, they cannot simultaneously engage in various activities and process vast amounts of information. Robots do not have this problem. They can look through gigabytes of data in a hundredths of a second and independently extract its most critical details. All this will enable the police to solve criminal cases and bring criminals to justice quickly.
  5. Cost reduction. Most modern robots are reliable and durable. Because of this, they only need to be serviced a few times a year. This will avoid excessive costs and save taxpayers a lot of money. At the same time, living police officers must be paid a salary, guaranteed the opportunity to take leave, and trained in various innovations. All this requires significant financial costs, due to which the cost of maintaining a police officer will be more than the price paid for servicing the robot.
  6. Increasing the level of trust in the police. Humans are emotional creatures of nature. In certain situations, they may cross the line of what is permitted or, succumbing to emotions, make the wrong decision. All this negatively affects the image of the police, which is viewed negatively by citizens of many countries around the world. If robots are in service, the likelihood of the described troubles occurring will be reduced to zero. This will have a positive impact on the level of trust in the police and will force many people to reconsider their attitude towards law enforcement officials.

Existing disadvantages:

  1. Unpredictability of actions. Even the most innovative computer in the world, equipped with artificial intelligence, cannot always work without failures. When they occur, it is unknown how the police robot will behave. Questions remain about who would be held responsible if RoboCop suddenly attacked and harmed a person. In the future, it may be possible to eliminate such troubles, but so far, this has not been possible.
  2. Violation of privacy. By collecting information about various people, robots store it in their memory. She defends herself reliably but remains under the threat of attack. If the existing protection is hacked, then personal data will fall into the hands of fraudsters who will not know how they will manage it. This problem is one of the main obstacles to the robotization of police work, and there is no clear solution yet.
  3. The need for regular technical control. Even ultra-modern robots remain simple mechanisms that require regular maintenance. Without it, the likelihood of breakdowns and malfunctions will become relatively high. This is especially true in the case of police robots, which are often operated in the most challenging conditions.
  4. Increase in unemployment. Robots could work more efficiently than human police officers. In this regard, the number of police officers will gradually decrease, and the fleet of robotic equipment will increase. This approach will lead to unemployment since most existing police officers will become unnecessary to anyone. This will automatically entail problems with the employment of people who are recruiting, training, and preparing future police representatives.
  5. Lack of intuition. In some cases, only the instinct of a police officer helps to identify a dangerous criminal (for example, a suicide bomber) in a crowd and prevent a severe tragedy. If the police are exclusively robots, deprived of the ability to assess the situation intuitively, then the safety of millions of people will be at risk. Even a detailed study of the condition of each passerby, which may become possible in the future, will not correct the situation.
  6. High cost. Robots are inexpensive to maintain, but their initial price is very high. In this regard, substantial financial investments from the state will be required to develop RoboCop models, their production, and modernization. Not everyone can afford this, so that robots will serve as the police permanently only in the most developed countries.

Use cases for robot cops

The number of tasks performed by the police is in the hundreds. In some of them, it is already advisable to use robots today. They can fully replace a person without losing the quality and efficiency of work. Patrolling is the most popular task in some countries that is already entrusted to robots. In this case, currently available RoboCops are placed on the busiest streets of large cities and in venues for various public events. They are equipped with day cameras and night vision devices to conduct round-the-clock surveillance. The purpose of this work is to identify multiple violations of public order and identify the persons who committed them. How effectively robots cope with such work is unknown, but the fact that their number is increasing on city streets suggests that they are performing their tasks well.

Police use a variety of robotic devices to collect intelligence information. Such devices demonstrate their effectiveness during counter-terrorism operations. They quietly go to the location of the terrorists, after which they record videos and conversations with the criminals. The robot activates the built-in thermal imagers and night vision devices if such an operation is carried out in the dark. The data obtained in this way helps the police do their job efficiently and save the lives of many ordinary citizens.

Robots will also become indispensable on busy roads. They will make it possible to read vehicle license plates and instantly check their owners for involvement in inevitable road accidents. With some additions, such robotic technology will even be able to scan people’s faces and monitor drivers’ compliance with traffic rules (for example, record speeding). Full-fledged police robots, expected to appear in the coming years, can potentially stop cars and conduct conversations with their owners. All of the above will make it possible to maximize road safety and force violators of traffic rules to comply with the prescribed laws.

A tremendous help for police is the ability of some robots to move faster than humans. This makes it easier to pursue criminals and increases the chances of their arrest. This is especially important in cases where lawbreakers carry firearms or bladed weapons. With robots, the likelihood of police officers being injured becomes minimal. Sometimes, such pursuits are carried out at night, which gives the criminal a good chance of escape. However, modern robots with thermal imagers and night vision devices can navigate perfectly, even in complete darkness. Combined with the ability to notice lawbreakers hiding behind various barriers, this will make it possible to determine the exact location of a person and arrest him.

Often, the police are faced with the need to defuse bombs and remove other dangerous objects (for example, boxes with unknown contents left in public places). In this situation, police are forced to risk their own lives, protecting a crowd of people from various troubles. However, if the police have robots, then this dangerous work can be entrusted to them. The quality of its implementation will remain the same, but the risk to the lives of police officers will be minimal. The same will happen in cases where the police are forced to carry out rescue operations.

Known cases of successful robot police work

In developed and actively developing countries, robots are already actively used in police work. For now, they perform mainly simple tasks, but shortly, there are plans to expand their range of work significantly. The UAE is one of the leaders in the speed of introduction of robots into the police force. Relatively recently, there was a performance of the Arabic version of RoboCop. This robot does not look like a human, but its height and weight characteristics are approximately equal to those of humans. The model created is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 100 kg. This robot moves on wheels. He has a typical UAE police look, with an easily recognizable cap and uniform. At a height of 1.5 meters, there is a touch display, which anyone can access. It is intended for creating reports about crimes seen or cases of disorder. There is also a separate tab on the show where everyone can enter their data to receive information about fines and various offenses (if the person has any). RoboCop from the UAE can speak six languages and recognize the faces of passersby. In addition, he can carefully study people's facial expressions and predict their emotional state. Such a robot is available in every major shopping center. Thanks to his work, the police received a lot of important information, which made it possible to solve dozens of crimes and prevent various illegal actions. Now, the Arabic RoboCop is being actively modernized, so it is expected that soon, it will be able to catch up with criminals and even arrest them.

Some metropolitan cities in India also have robot police officers. They do their jobs well and provide great assistance to law enforcement agencies. “Smart RoboCop,” the name of the Indian police robot, is already quite universal today. He can not only receive complaints and display specific information, like his “colleague” from the UAE, but also move quickly and identify people passing by. The latter feature makes it possible to locate wanted criminals in a crowd, which would be extremely difficult for ordinary police officers to find. Another vital advantage of the Indian RoboCop is its ability to converse with people and answer frequently asked questions (for example, it will always tell you the right direction to travel and tell interesting facts about the city). Recent modifications of this robot have been supplemented with thermal imaging cameras and many different sensors. Thanks to this, Smart RoboCop began to work around the clock and perform many other important work (for example, with its help, the police could find and defuse an explosive device). This robot also continues to be modernized, so there is no doubt that in the future, it will be able to replace live police officers fully.

China is not lagging in terms of robotization of police work. So, in Henan province, local RoboCops patrol the station premises. The modern software they use makes it possible to recognize and identify people. Thanks to this, it is possible to communicate with visitors, answer their questions, and find lawbreakers in the crowd. Excellent statistics prove the effectiveness of such robots. During the reporting period, the number of crimes committed at the station decreased, again demonstrating the need to introduce RoboCop to the police. Chinese robots are also used in Beijing. Here, these mechanized devices are equipped to carry real firearms and use them. However, this development has not been thoroughly studied by the engineers themselves, so robots are currently only trusted to control stun guns for safety reasons. Their actions are carefully monitored by ordinary police officers, who, if necessary, intervene in the situation and prevent various troubles. Testing robots capable of carrying weapons has caused a lot of controversy. However, the developers assure that they will not risk people’s lives and will arm their charges only after they are confident in their safety for law-abiding citizens. Both types of Chinese police robots use artificial intelligence in their work. Thanks to it, they can independently plot their route and find answers to most of the questions of people who contact them.

Simpler robots capable of performing the functions of traffic controllers at intersections are used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They have been doing this for a long time and do not experience any particular problems with the situation on busy roads. African RoboCops are of impressive size and cannot move independently. At the same time, they have the unique ability to work in any weather and perform their duties efficiently. To regulate movement, robots use red and green flags. They allow some drivers to move and prohibit others. Also, the responsibilities of such a RoboCop include providing pedestrians with recommendations on how to cross the road safely. Such traffic controllers have recently been equipped with day and night vision cameras. Thanks to them, they record events at the intersection around the clock, which allows police officers to monitor compliance with traffic rules in real-time. An important feature of African RoboCops is their complete autonomy. They operate exclusively on solar energy, the reserves of which last the robots for the day and the whole night.

Law enforcement agencies in Israel are also actively using the capabilities of robots. Their RoboCop is the closest thing to a live police officer. It is intended for carrying out complex and dangerous activities, such as detaining armed criminals, releasing hostages, etc. The Israeli robot is not independent. It is controlled by an operator located at a great distance. Such a device can overcome obstacles, climb stairs, and even shoot from a built-in pistol. This is possible thanks to 8 cameras with night vision and thermal imaging functions. They give the operator good visibility in all lighting conditions and allow the robot to quickly be directed to the desired point. The latest models of the Israeli RoboCop have built-in audio communication. Thanks to its presence, police can communicate with criminals and eavesdrop on their plans. All this is done remotely, so law enforcement officials risk virtually nothing. Despite this, the effectiveness of complex police operations is only increasing.

When introducing modern technologies into any field of activity, it is impossible not to think of the United States. This country is one of the leaders in robotics, so it is not surprising that RoboCop is used quite actively here. Most are still in the testing stage, but some models are already helping the police. One of the most exciting projects is the creation of a robot that independently drives a police car. For this work, he uses artificial intelligence and some secret developments. It is assumed that such a robot will independently drive along US roads and monitor compliance with traffic rules. If he discovers anything illegal, he will automatically issue a fine, a notification about which will be sent to the driver’s phone. Also, this RoboCop will be able to collect data from all nearby surveillance cameras, thereby obtaining a vast amount of information about daily violations. Another exciting development is a robot policeman capable of patrolling the streets. His responsibilities include monitoring law enforcement and identifying all minor breaches of the law (for example, issuing fines for illegal parking). Its additional purpose could theoretically be to help lost people or those who need police protection. However, such functions are still in the development stage, but shortly, they will become a reality.

Robots are gradually taking over our world. These inanimate creatures, endowed with artificial intelligence, are increasingly replacing people in various industrial enterprises. They help us perform the most complex and dangerous jobs, reducing accidents and increasing productivity. The police also have their robots. So far, they are only used in some places, but shortly, the range of their responsibilities will only expand. If technological progress does not stop, then in 10-15 years, robots will be patrolling the streets of all cities, issuing fines for illegal parking, catching criminals, neutralizing terrorists, and conducting complex investigative experiments.


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