Robots: Face of the Future
The European Union is funding a robot research program, Ubiquitous Robots in Urban Settings, that aims to produce robots capable of several applications, including acting as “robo-cops” in urban areas.
These robots would patrol and monitor urban areas for suspicious activity and would be able to react to and interpret pedestrians, vehicles, and other moving objects. Using data that has been programmed into them, the robots would be capable of detecting abnormalities such as suspicious activity, litter, or vandalism.
“For example, if you have a robot with a camera that looks down a road and it knows it is normal behavior for people to just walk along, then it will know that if somebody shimmies up a drainpipe, it is something the system has never seen before,” explains University of Surrey professor Richard Bowden.
When the robot spots suspicious activity, it would then share data with other networked robots, including its location, and send an alarm. This would effectively serve as a higher form of CCTV–one capable not just of videotaping criminal actions, but detecting and reporting these actions at their source.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from Engineer (02/26/07).