In Singapore, where robots are being deployed from healthcare to restaurants in a government-backed push to ease a workforce crunch, a new niche has been found for intelligent machines — nightwatchman.
O-R3, a four-wheeled security robot unveiled by a Singapore technology company on Friday, is designed to patrol large outdoor areas without human guidance, making sure all people on the site are
It navigates itself with an array of sensors including laser scanners and GPS.The automated guard, which weighs 80kg and stands 1.5m tall, comes with a drone, which pops out of its side to pursue intruders over fences or across difficult terrain.
While security robots are already on the market — US company Knightscope's K5 is widely deployed at malls and corporate headquarters in California — the Singapore business OTSAW Digital is promoting its machine as a solution to the tightening
"Security companies have been talking to us," said Ling Ting Ming, the company's chief executive. "They want to use technology to replace
The high attrition rate for security guards — the industry in Singapore had a 2.8 per cent resignation rate last year, compared with 1.8 per cent for the
"It's not just
That task may not be entirely straightforward for a robot. The company acknowledges the risk of mistaken identity as the machine uses facial recognition technology to tell the difference between
The machine requires at least two hours' charging time between each four- to five-hour patrol, and comes with a hefty price tag — it will be leased to clients at US$10,000 a month.
Singapore already makes extensive use of robots in manufacturing with about 400 robots for every 10,000 factory employees, the world's highest density after South Korea, according to the International Federation of Robotics, an industry group.
The city-state's government is backing a drive to expand the use of robots in services — from collecting dirty crockery in restaurants to assisting kindergarten teachers with storytelling.
In last year's budget, Singapore announced plans to spend more than S$450m (US$323m) over three years on the deployment of robots.
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