The secret is out. There is a new kind of police robot in California. Think R2D2 and you come close to imagining what this new robot looks like. But it has a more bullet-shape design to it, unlike the beeping roly-poly robot character of the Star Wars series.
HP RoboCop has already been making the rounds for almost a month in Huntington Park, a California city just south of Los Angeles, according to a recent news article in the Washington Examiner online. RoboCop is unarmed and is also a friendly character, greeting people with statements such as “Good day to you” or “Excuse me” whenever the robot needs to roll by you on the sidewalk and you are blocking its path.
While it is not out to hurt anyone, RoboCop does watch whatever is happening in its current surroundings, such as a park or in buildings, using a 360-degree visual scan by video cam. Robotics is a non-lethal approach to policing cities, but should you be doing something illegal, undoubtedly the real police will show up pretty quickly to put you in handcuffs.
Moving Policing into the Digital Age
Most police cars are now fitted with some type of electronic dashboard or computer-styled information device, that allows police to instantly check on a vehicle’s license plate, registration sticker, or to find out if the driver is wanted on various warrants before even making a traffic stop. Police can call for backup should the situation be considered potentially dangerous.
The Long Arm of the Law
Another innovative California man has designed a robot that sits on a side-mounted platform of a police car. When a traffic stop is made, the police officer extends the platform, like an arm, over to the driver side of the stopped vehicle. Known as the “GoBetween” robot, this interface allows the police officer to communicate with the driver, get information, and issue tickets via a small installed printer on the tablet.
According to the article on NBC News online, a spike strip is also placed in front of the car’s back tires to ensure the car does not suddenly drive off. The whole concept of “GoBetween” sounds promising and, as with all new processes, such robotics will be improved further over time to be even more efficient. One must also appreciate that the robot officer on the arm wears a crash helmet, too, to keep the tablet and its parts protected from rain or hail storms. It is all part of keeping officers, drivers, and the robot safe from situations that could be dangerous.
Robots Help Law Enforcement in Many Ways
An outcome of recent war-time situations has provided SWAT teams to be able to send in a bomb-detecting robot which can check out a suspicious package in a building. Using robots are an excellent alternative to sending in a living person who could die if the bomb was remotely detonated. The robot can determine the status of the package and bring it out to a safe container, where the package can be detonated if a bomb, or safely inspected, if not a bomb.
Keeping Everyone Safe
The objective of using robots whenever possible is to keep everyone safe. This includes video cam setups around a city and neighborhoods, making it safer for residents. Criminals will find it harder to commit crimes of any sort with constant ongoing surveillance.
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