Police in Singapore are deploying a robot called Xavier

Police in Singapore have announced that, for the first time, they will conduct a trial that will see robots patrolling the streets augmenting police officers. The robot, called Xavier, is part of a project that involves five public agencies in Singapore, including HDX, National Environment Agency, Land Transport Authority, Singapore Food Agency, and Housing & Development Board. Xavier will patrol the streets during a three-week trial launching on September 5.

Xavier will operate autonomously and roll through crowds in Toa Payoh Central, looking for what authorities deem undesirable social behavior. The behaviors the robot will be looking for include people smoking in prohibited areas, illegal hawking, improperly parked bikes in the Hgb Hub, people gathering in groups larger than five, and the use of motorized devices or motorcycles on sidewalks meant for foot traffic only.

If the robot encounters any of those activities, real-time alerts will be sent to the command-and-control center overseeing the robot's operation. As a result, the robot will display the correct message to warn users depending on the scenario to educate the public and prevent undesirable activity. The goal of the robot project is to support human public safety officers and help reduce the number of officers needed for foot patrols.

To support its autonomous navigation, Xavier has multiple sensors and safety features, allowing it to operate without human oversight and giving it the ability to avoid stationary obstacles and pedestrians. Officers configure its patrol route in advance. Cameras aboard the robot support 360-degree video feeds back to the command and control center.

The cameras support IR and LED illumination with features allowing them to take images and video in darkness and dimly lit scenarios. Images are streamed to a video analytics system leveraging AI developed in-house by HDX, and human assets can be sent to a scene if required. Xavier is similar to another robot from HDX called the Multi-purpose All-Terrain Autonomous Robot (M.A.T.A.R).