Social distancing and safe distancing has become the new normal, but having a human to police the public on safe distancing is deemed impossible because it would defeat the purpose of avoiding crowds.
So, the Singaporean government came up with a creative way to advocate and monitor the public on safe distancing, using a four-legged robot dog.
Given the name Spot, the yellow robot began patrolling Bishan-Ang Mo Kio to remind people of safe distancing measures yesterday (8 May).
What does Spot do?
Basically, the robot will broadcast a recorded message to remind park visitors to observe safe distancing measures.
The robot itself had been installed with cameras that were enabled to estimate the number of visitors in the parks. According to the Straits Times, the cameras will not be able to track or recognise specific individuals, or collect any personal data.
Here’s a video by Channel News Asia, showing how Spot carries out its duty in the park:
🔊 Watch this robot dog go through its paces as it promotes safe distancing at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
Apparently, Spot was originally used for surveillance, but now it is used to broadcast recorded safe distancing measures at the park. It is set to patrol in the mornings and evenings when human traffic is at its highest.
As part of the two-week trial, Spot will be deployed over a 3km stretch in the River Plains sections of the park during off-peak hours. Other than Bishan-Ang Mo Kio, the robot may also be deployed in other parks such as Jurong Lake Gardens.
What’s cool about this dog-looking robot is that it’s able to navigate obstacles more effectively as compared with wheeled robots. This would make the robot suitable to patrol in different terrains. It is also fitted with safety sensors to detect objects and people within one metre to avoid collisions!
Since it can be controlled remotely, the point of this robot is to decrease the manpower for park patrols, as well as helping to minimise physical contact among staff, safe distancing ambassadors and park visitors.
Accreditation where it’s due, Spot is developed by Boston Dynamics.
Seeing how Covid-19 can spread within close proximity, it is a brilliant idea that a non-living object can be utilised to monitor the situation in public places.
This is super cool and we hope it actually works! Guess Malaysia needs something like this as well, huh?
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