'See-Shoot' Systems in the Municipal Space

The AnBot is a Robo-cop designed to patrol the streets in China instead of human police officers. It is currently equipped with no-kill means, and is the first step in the field of 'See-Shoot' Systems

China is developing a robotic security officer that can sniff out bombs, grab suspects with a mechanical clamp and deliver a jolt of electricity to neutralize threats. This, according to a publication on chrdnet.com.

The military researchers behind the project say it will start patrolling public areas such as banks, airports and schools, although a human-rights watcher has questioned whether the robot and its ability to carry out commands with no questions asked will be abused by the authorities.

“AnBot” has been in the works at the National University of Defense Technology in Changsha, southern Hunan province, and a prototype was finally unveiled last month. “We are very, very interested in AnBot,” said a senior official with the China Security Association, a trade umbrella organization run by the Ministry of Public Security.

AnBot had undergone test runs at a military camp, airport and museum in Changsha with “very positive” user feedback. The robot, which moves on wheels, could carry out a non-stop patrol for eight hours, hitting speeds as high as 18km/h. Its cameras can recognize and track faces, and it is equipped with sensors that can detect explosives, drugs and weapons. It can also be ordered via a remote human controller to deliver an electric jolt or its mechanical clamp to disable a target. For Additional data: popsci.com

There is no doubt that the deployment of the Robo-cop in the streets of China is the first step in the adoption of 'see-shoot' technologies in the municipal space as a mean to strengthen the sense of security of the citizens. This move can be attributed to the field of "smart cities". Despite the benefits of robots carrying out police assignment, such a move raises some ethical and operational questions in the context of law enforcement in the civilian space via robots.