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These Robot-dogs are enforcing social distancing in Singapore parks

Last week we were blessed with the news that local officials in the Philippines have been dressing up as Star Wars characters to enforce the country’s quarantine measures and hand out relief packages. 

Now it appears that Singapore is giving Filipinos a run for their money, with their creative approach to enforcing social distancing restrictions. 

robot dog Singapore
Photo: BBC

Singapore authorities have enlisted the assistance of a robot dog named SPOT to enforce social distancing rules and help curb the spread of COVID-19 virus. 

The remote-controlled robo-dog machine patrols parks and politely warns: “For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one metre apart. Thank you.”

SPOT was built by Boston Dynamics and was first stationed in a central park on Friday as part of a two-week trial. The machine’s success could just see other robots policing various green spaces across Singapore throughout their county-wide lockdown. 

Singapore has recorded one of Asia’s highest tallies of the COVID-19 virus, with over 21,000 cases. Similarly to hear in Australia, residents can leave their homes for essential trips like shopping or exercise. 

Along with its polite warnings to park-goers, SPOT is also equipped with surveillance equipment to help estimate the number of people in the park. However, it has been confirmed that cameras would not be used to track individuals or their personal data.

Currently, breaches of Singapore’s strict lockdown rules can result in hefty fines and even jail, so it is nice to see a more light-hearted approach to enforcing the restrictions. On the other hand, this small move from Singapore could signify a revolutionised approach to policing. Who knows, maybe Robocop is not too far from a reality.