Months after unveiling flying taxis, Dubai Police has launched autonomous, self-driving miniature cars.
Dubai Police signed a new deal with Singapore-based OTSAW Digital to deploy autonomous outdoor security robots — called O-R3 by the firm — as part of the Smart Dubai initiative.
The robotic vehicles will be equipped with biometric software to scan for wanted criminals and “undesirables” who are suspected or are breaking laws, Dubai Police said.
About the size of a child’s electric toy car, the driverless vehicles will patrol the city to boost security and hunt for unusual activity.
It will also scan crowds for known criminals and potential persons of interest to police.
The mini-vehicle even comes with its own drone which can be launched via a rear sleeve — and both are linked to the Dubai Police command room.
“Dubai Police are keen to get the latest technology to fight crime,” said Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, commander-in-chief of Dubai Police.
Dubai Police seek to augment operations with the help of technology such as robots in order to make streets safe and peaceful even without heavy police patrol, he said.
OTSAW said its autonomous security robot features an antenna and ground surveillance system.
O-R3 performs 360-degree surveillance and deters potential crime with its formidable presence on site, it said.
Robots exist to improve the quality of human lives, where men take on high-value jobs while robots perform the low-skilled ones, said Ling Bing, CEO of OTSAW Digital.
The car has cameras and will be linked to the command room, said Brigadier Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, director of the Smart Services Department in Dubai Police.
It can recognise people in any area and identify suspicious objects and can track suspects, Al Razooqi said.
In January, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said trials for an autonomous air taxi (AAT), which is capable of carrying two passengers, will start in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The authority signed an agreement with Volocopter, a Germany-based specialist manufacturer of autonomous air vehicles.
This comes after the February announcement in which the RTA said that it had partnered with China’s Ehang Company to test run an autonomous aerial vehicle capable of carrying a human.
It is not known if the Volocopter is an addition to or replacement for the Ehang air taxis.